Tunisian president says everyone can express their views on the new political system

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FILE PHOTO: Tunisian President Kais Saied holds a news conference on vaccination against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), during a European Union – African Union summit, in Brussels, Belgium, February 18, 2022. REUTERS /Johanna Geron/Pool/Photo File Reuters_tickers

This content was published on March 21, 2022 – 03:06

By Tarek Amara

TUNIS (Reuters) – Everyone in Tunisia will have a chance to air their views on plans for a new political system before a panel sets out guidelines for constitutional reforms, President Kais Saied said on Monday.

Saied has faced fierce criticism that he has sought to establish a one-man rule since monopolizing executive powers and suspending parliament last year, with a protest on Sunday by more than 2,000 people in the city. capital, the latest manifestation of disfavor.

In Monday’s speech on state television, Saied said he would go ahead with his original plans for a referendum on constitutional changes on July 25.

“The work will continue until a referendum on July 25, after which everyone will be involved in expressing their opinions and suggestions for the new political system,” Saied said.

His comments came as a deadline expired for an online consultation launched two months ago to determine Tunisians’ views on political and economic issues, although around 500,000 people took part in the country. of 12 million inhabitants.

The remarks may imply that Saied could agree to talks with political opponents, although he has previously said he rejects fruitless dialogue with those he calls corrupt and traitors.

Saied did not specify how people would be able to voice their opinions under the new system, although key players, such as the powerful UGTT union, believe the only way forward is through national dialogue on political and economic reforms.

Sunday protesters in the capital called for the return of the democratic system.

Most political parties dismissed the online consultation as a fraud and an attempt by Saied to impose his political project, although the leader called it an embodiment of the slogan of the Tunisian revolution, “The people want”.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)


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