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Tunisia’s President Says All Can Express Views on New Political System

Tunisia’s President Says All Can Express Views on New Political System

Monday, 21 March, 2022 - 09:45
Tunisia's President Kais Saied holds a news conference on gives a statement on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) vaccination, during a European Union - African Union summit, in Brussels, Belgium February 18, 2022. (Reuters)

Everyone in Tunisia will have a chance to express their views on plans for a new political system before a panel gives directions for constitutional reforms, President Kais Saied said on Monday.


Saied faces strong criticism that he seeks to establish one-man rule since he monopolized the executive authorities and suspended parliament last year, with a protest on Sunday by more than 2,000 people in the capital the latest show of disfavor.


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


"Work will continue to go to 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 at the expiry of a deadline for an online consultation started two months ago to determine the views of Tunisians on political and economic issues, although just about 500,000 participated in the country of 12 million.


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


Saied did not say how people could express their views in the new system, although key players, such as the powerful labor union UGTT, feel the only way forward is through national dialogue on political and economic reforms.


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


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


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