‘Yes’ vote wins Tunisia landslide, but critics question support | Politics News

The opposition says the low turnout for the constitutional referendum reveals President Kais Saied’s weak spot.

Tunis, Tunisia – Outcomes present that Tunisians have voted to approve a brand new structure proposed by President Kais Saied, however the nation’s opposition says the low turnout of solely about 30 p.c reveals the president’s weak spot and the illegitimacy of the method.

In accordance with preliminary outcomes introduced by the Tunisian Impartial Greater Election Authority (ISIE) on Tuesday night, 94.6 p.c of voters authorized the constitution.

A monthlong attraction course of will now be held earlier than the ultimate result’s introduced on the August finish.

The low turnout got here amid a boycott marketing campaign from the Tunisian opposition, which says the brand new structure will probably lead Tunisia again to one-man rule, because it modifications the nation from a hybrid parliamentary system to a hyper-presidential one, and removes various checks and balances.

Farouk Bouasker, the pinnacle of the ISIE, steered away from discussing voter turnout after many members of the opposition emphasised that almost all of Tunisians not solely didn’t vote for Saied, however additionally they didn’t have interaction in his referendum course of.

Farouk Bouasker, President of the Independent High Authority for Elections, speaks during the announcement of the preliminary results of a referendum on a new constitution in Tunis,
ISIE President Farouk Bouasker publicizes the preliminary outcomes of the referendum on a brand new structure in Tunis, Tunisia, July 26, 2022 [Tarek Amara/Reuters]

Saied, who mentioned on Monday that folks had been free to skip the referendum, insisted the brand new doc will hold the freedoms enshrined within the 2014 iteration of the structure, including his modifications are essential to weaken a “corrupt” political elite.

The populist, who got here into energy in 2019, retains a powerful help base from Tunisians uninterested in the financial and political crises which have dominated the nation for the reason that 2011 revolution, however has misplaced help since he suspended parliament and dissolved the federal government final July.

Saied will proceed to have the ability to rule by decree till parliamentary elections are held in December.

Considerations and questions

In a information convention, Nejib Chebbi, a number one member of the opposition Nationwide Salvation Entrance, mentioned low turnout “de-legitimises the general course of”.

His feedback had been echoed by the founding father of the US-based Middle for Analysis of Islam and Democracy, Radwan Masmoudi.

“You may’t approve or undertake a brand new structure with lower than 30 p.c of the voters,” he advised Al Jazeera. “In actuality, the numbers are far smaller, however the ISIE was beneath his [Saied’s] management, particularly within the inside of the nation, and rigged the leads to his favour as was anticipated.”

Questions have abounded about how correct the outcomes and the official turnout are, significantly as few election observers have been current.

Internationally, the response to the referendum has been muted.

US Division of State spokesman Ned Worth mentioned Washington was conscious of considerations amongst civil society organisations and politicians concerning the lack of an “inclusive and clear course of and the restricted scope for real public debate through the drafting of the brand new structure”.

He added: “We additionally word considerations that the brand new structure contains weakened checks and balances that would compromise the safety of human rights and elementary freedoms.”

Assist for Saied

Polls have repeatedly proven that regardless of a pointy drop in Saied’s approval score, he would nonetheless be the most well-liked presidential candidate if an election had been to be referred to as.

“It’s not that Saied is common it’s simply that he’s politically stronger than the others,” political writer Amine Snoussi advised Al Jazeera. “Meaning that there’s a political house for different actors to put in and revenue from.”

The voters Al Jazeera spoke to at polling stations earlier than the rely mentioned their largest concern was the way forward for their kids or grandchildren. Many have excessive expectations, and so they hope that Saied will make drastic modifications to the nation.

However Snoussi fears what would possibly occur now that Saied has all of the powers of the state in his fingers.

“I feel he’s going to rule simply as he dominated for the final yr, however now he has the legislation with him, now he has each instrument he wants to put in an authoritarian regime,” he defined.