Tunisian constitution committee head condemns president’s draft | News

Former constitutional law professor Sadok Belaid says constitutional chapters could pave the way for a ‘disgraceful dictatorship’.

The head of Tunisia’s constitutional commission condemned proposed constitution launched by President Kais Saied this week, local newspaper Assabah reported.

Sadok Belaid, a former constitutional law professor appointed by Saied to draft a “new constitution for the new republic,” said Saied’s version was dangerous and unlike the first draft proposed by the constitutional committee. .

Belaid said the final constitution released by the president contained chapters that could pave the way for “a shameful dictatorship.”

“…It is our duty to announce forcefully and honestly that the constitution has been officially proclaimed… and presented to a referendum unrelated to the constitution that we have drafted and sent to president,” he said in a letter published by the Assabah newspaper.

The president has not commented on the constitution since he published the text on Thursday in Tunisia’s official gazette. The constitution will give Saied more powers and will be put to a referendum next month.

On Saturday, the head of the powerful UGTT union also said the proposed constitution could threaten democracy in the country.

However, the coalition, a major political force with more than a million members, said it would allow its members to vote freely as they choose under the constitution proposed by Saied.

Voters will be asked to approve the constitution in a referendum on July 25.

Saied has ruled by decree since last year, when he set aside parliament and the 2014 democratic constitution in a step his enemies called a coup, moving towards a one-man regime and promising to remake the political system.

UGTT said the proposed constitution keeps the chapters related to freedoms and rights intact, but some restrictions and lack of guarantees could threaten these freedoms and rights and create opportunities to violate them.

The draft constitution published in the official gazette would bring most of the political power under Saied, giving him ultimate authority over the government and the judiciary.

In the past, political power was exercised more directly by the parliament, which played a dominant role in appointing the government and passing legislation.

Under the proposed new constitution, the government would answer to the president, not to parliament, although the lower house could withdraw its confidence from the government with a two-thirds majority.

Saied would be allowed to present draft laws, have sole responsibility for proposing treaties and drafting state budgets, appointing or removing government ministers and appointing judges.

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