Tunis: Hundreds of people demonstrated on Sunday in the capital of Tunisia against a planned referendum on constitutional amendment and the recent dismissal of dozens of judges by President Kais Saied. Tunis protesters responded to calls from opposition organizations, including the Nafda Party, inspired by Islam, the enemy of Sayed, saying “constitution, freedom, dignity” and “people want an independent judiciary.” Stated.

The new constitution is at the heart of Saeed’s reform plan and will go to a referendum on July 25, just one year after he dismissed the government and suspended parliament. Since then, he has steadily expanded his seize power, including the dissolution of Parliament in March. Earlier this month he dismissed 57 judges after accusing him of corruption and many other crimes.

“The referendum is just a scam,” said Ali Larayedh, the leader of Ennahdha, the largest party in parliament and a major player in the government dismissed by the president. “We are showing opposition to the exclusion of judicial authorities and a coup targeting the Constitution,” he said.

The 2014 Constitution was a painstaking compromise between Nahda and its secular rivals, creating a system in which both the president and parliament have executive branch. It was adopted three years after the 2011 revolution in the North African country. Rights groups have accused 57 judges of dismissing Saeed earlier this month as “a deep blow to judicial independence.”

Saeed is a former law professor elected in 2019 amid public anger at the political class of North African countries. He organized a “national dialogue” over constitutional amendments, but opposition, including the strong UGTT trade union coalition, boycotted it because it excluded key civil society officials and political parties.

A draft of the new constitution will be submitted to Saeed on Monday in the form of a simple vote in favor / disagreement prior to the referendum. Earlier this month, Ennahdha warned that the new constitution would not remove references to Islam. Sunday’s protests took place shortly after the flight was canceled, public transport was shut down, and government agencies were closed in a national strike by UGTT that put more pressure on the president.

The alliance threatened reform by urging vast public sector workers in North African countries to strike, demanding salary concessions at 159 state agencies and public sector companies. In February, the president dismantled an independent judicial observer and replaced it with a body under his own control.

Opponents of Sayed have accused him of returning the only democracy that emerged from the Arab spring uprising to dictatorship. However, some Tunisians support his move towards the system, which they say has been barely achieved in the decade since the 2011 rebellion that defeated the dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. The legislative election is scheduled for December. – AFP

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