Saied’s opposition insists low turnout makes new constitution “illegitimate”


Charging election officials loyal to President Kais Saied added nearly half a million “yes” votes to ballot boxes after polls closed Monday- Tunisia’s opposition parties insisted the new constitution is illegitimate at a joint press conference Wednesday. The five Tunisian parties rejected referendum results announced by the Tunisian High Authority for Elections and accused it of manipulating numbers.

They insisted that even if the figures were correct, the draft constitution submitted to the referendum was void due to the boycott of the referendum by 75% of the public.

Election officials appointed by Saied announced yesterday that 95% of the voters approved the constitution in Monday’s balloting and claimed the 30.5%. turnout reached the needed threshold for adoption.

Boycotted by a large segment of Tunisians, the new governance framework hands President Saeid extensive powers, including shifting decisions to the executive away from the parliament. The vote was held on the one-year anniversary of Saied’s dismissal of an elected parliament and establishment of one-person emergency rule.

President Saeid’s supporters say the opposition parties turned the previously elected parliament into a theater for political grandstanding. But his opposition insists the lowest participation rate of Tunisians compared to any of the three previous elections held since the 2011 uprising is a sign of a “sham democracy” orchestrated by Saeid’s referendum.

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