Tunisian citizens voted Monday to accept the country’s new constitution and expand the president’s powers. In a vote with 25 percent voter turnout, the constitution was adopted by over 90 percent of voters. Tunisia’s 2014 constitution allowed more representation and parliamentary power. In July 2021, President Kais Saied used emergency powers to fire the prime minister and freeze parliament for a month. Earlier this year, Saied brought forth the idea of a new constitution.
The new constitution will grant Saied increased power over the legislature. Additionally, it will give the executive more powers in the judiciary, eliminating separate branches of government. Along with the elimination of an independent judiciary, the new constitution eliminates human rights and gender equality safeguards that were included in the 2014 constitution. Amnesty International fears the new constitution will continue to erode Tunisia’s democracy and have repercussions around the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
Saied stated the first step after the constitution’s passage is to “draft an election law.” The opposing Ennahda Party is fighting for Tunisia’s democracy. They hope consolidation of power will be undone, with the constitutional powers returning to separate branches of Tunisia’s government.