Opposition largely boycotted the referendum, refusing to legitimise President Saied’s new structure.
Some Tunisians have begun celebrating a win for the “Sure” vote in a constitutional referendum introduced by President Kais Saied, regardless of the election authority saying solely a couple of quarter of registered voters had turned out.
An exit ballot from Sigma Conseil, a Tunisian polling firm, stated 92.3 p.c of voters had backed the brand new structure, which opponents say will entrench one-man rule.
Solely 7.7 p.c voted “No”. Out of some 9 million registered voters, simply 1.9 million individuals got here out to vote, with the opposition primarily selecting to boycott the vote.
A few hundred individuals crowded onto the steps of Tunis Municipal Theatre to sing and chant common slogans whereas vehicles circled Avenue Habib Bourguiba, which noticed the ultimate chapter of the 2011 rebellion that overthrew the authoritarian president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and started the Arab Spring.
A couple of hours later, they have been joined by Saied himself, who gave speeches and answered questions from native and worldwide press.
Saied appeared certain that his structure had been accepted, referring to the referendum day as “an historic second”.
Saied’s supporters predict radical change, if not miraculous options, to the financial strife that has fuelled demonstrations and strikes in Tunisia.
Sharan Grewal, assistant professor on the College Faculty of William and Mary in Virginia and a non-resident fellow on the Brookings Establishment, advised Al Jazeera the opposition might make a political revenue from the low voter turnout.
“It relies upon how they body this. It reveals that 72 p.c don’t help Saied’s challenge …” Grewal stated, including “however that assumes that they have been actively boycotting, not simply not voting.”
Grewal stated the way in which for opposition actions to persuade widespread Tunisians that almost all of them have been towards the plan “could be to carry a giant protest” fairly than a sequence of small ones.
The opposition had struggled to unite earlier than the vote, and had held separate anti-referendum protests.
It’s not but clear how Saied plans to proceed.
No minimal degree of participation was set for the referendum, so the structure, which is able to change the nation from its present hybrid parliamentary democracy to 1 the place the president has sweeping powers, might be adopted.
Saied, who has been ruling by decree for a yr, has already amassed vital energy, eradicating the parliament and sacking dozens of judges.
Stated Benarbia, the director of the Center East and North Africa programme on the Worldwide Fee of Jurists, which has been constantly outspoken on Saied’s varied strikes towards the judiciary over the previous yr, advised Al Jazeera that the brand new structure risked severe abuses of energy, and warned that the modifications basically undermine human rights and the rule of legislation.
“Underneath the proposed structure, each the parliament and judiciary are subordinate to the chief and the president,” Benarbia advised Al Jazeera. “Their powers and competencies to behave as a test on the chief have been both weakened or eliminated altogether.”
The opposition now worries that violence towards anti-referendum protesters earlier than the vote, and court docket circumstances towards opposition figures, reminiscent of Ennahdha chief Rachid Ghannouchi, are an indication of issues to return.
“All of the checks and balances that have been offered and the ensures for the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary have been eliminated,” stated Benarbia, including: “making the police straight subordinate and accountable to the president … [is] transferring from a framework of the rule of legislation, to a police that’s [only] accountable to the president.”