Tunisian President Saied announces constitutional referendum, elections

Tunis [Tunisia]: Tunisian President Kais Saied on Monday said that the country will hold a constitutional referendum next July and parliamentary elections would follow at the end of 2022.
Saeid, in a speech on national television, announced, “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people and said that “other draft constitutional and other changes will be put forward to referendum” on July 25, 2022 – exactly a year after he sacked the government and seized wide-ranging powers, reported France24. Changes to the constitution would follow the public online consultation and parliament would remain suspended until a new one was elected, said Saied.
Saied’s July 25 power grab initially won support from many Tunisians tired of political parties seen as deeply corrupt and incapable of solving the country’s deep economic woes, reported France24.
But he has since faced mass demonstrations and growing accusations that he is becoming a new autocrat. Human rights groups have repeatedly warned against the trial of civilians in military courts.
Monday’s announcement came days after envoys of seven Western states (G7) plus the EU urged Tunisia to respect “fundamental freedoms” and set a timeline for a return to democratic institutions, reported France24.
In a joint statement, the diplomatic mission heads of the G7 nations said they “strongly support the people of Tunisia in their pursuit of effective, democratic, and transparent” governance.
“We restate the importance of respect for all Tunisians’ fundamental freedoms, and inclusive and transparent engagement with all stakeholders, including diverse political and civil society voices,” they said.
They called for “a clear timeline allowing for a swift return to functioning democratic institutions, with an elected parliament playing a significant role”, reported France24.

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