Tunisia's new constitution giving President Kais Saied wider powers comes into effect

Voters overwhelmingly approved the new constitution, the electoral board said

Tunisians protest against US interference in July after Secretary of State Anthony Blinken criticised the referendum on the constitution. EPA
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Tunisia's new constitution, which gives President Kais Saied greater power, has come into effect after the electoral commission announced the final results of last month's referendum.

Voters overwhelmingly approved the new constitution with 94.6 per cent in favour in the poll on July 25, the electoral board said on Tuesday.

“The constitution comes into force with the announcement of the final results, its promulgation by the president and its publication in the official journal,” AFP quoted the electoral board's president Farouk Bouasker as saying.

The charter was approved by just over 2.6 million people, Mr Bouasker said.

The turnout was considered low at 30.5 per cent.

Mr Saied's move against a system that emerged after the 2011 overthrow of autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was welcomed by many Tunisians.

Tunisia is mired in crisis with growth of just 3 per cent, with almost 40 per cent of young people jobless and four million people out of a population of nearly 12 million in poverty.

For weeks the heavily indebted country has been negotiating a new loan with the International Monetary Fund, hoping to obtain $4 billion, and also the chance to open other avenues of foreign aid, mainly European.

The new text puts the president in command of the army and allows him to appoint a government without parliamentary approval.

He can also present draft laws to parliament, which will be obliged to give them priority.

A second chamber is created within Parliament to represent the regions and counterbalance the assembly itself.

Updated: August 17, 2022, 7:50 AM