Tunisia opposition accuses elections board of 'fraud'

AFP , Tuesday 26 Jul 2022

Tunisia's main opposition alliance on Tuesday accused President Kais Saied's electoral board of falsifying turnout figures, saying his referendum on a new constitution had "failed".

Tunisia Electoral Board
Tunisian electoral officials count votes following a referendum on a new constitution, in the capital Tunis on July 26, 2022. - President Kais Saied said Tunisia had entered a new phase with a new constitution almost certain to pass in a referendum, concentrating almost all powers in his office. AFP


Tunisians voted on Monday on a draft charter that would give the president unchecked powers, a year after Saied sacked the government and froze parliament in a dramatic blow against the country's democracy.

The electoral board, ISIE, said after polls closed that some 27.5 percent of the country's 9.3 million voters had cast ballots.

But Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, head of the National Salvation Front that includes Saied's main rivals, said the figures were "inflated and don't fit with what observers saw on the ground" across Tunisia.

ISIE "isn't honest and impartial, and its figures are fraudulent," he told journalists.

Saied seized control of ISIE in April, giving himself the authority to name three of the seven members of the commission including its chief, weeks after he made a similar move on the country's top judicial watchdog.

Chebbi said the only source of legitimacy for the Tunisian government was the 2014 constitution.

That document was a hard-won compromise between diverse political forces following the 2011 revolt that overthrew dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali three years earlier.

Saied said low turnout in the referendum showed "Kais Saied's coup d'etat has failed".

But the president's supporters thronged central Tunis on Monday night following the vote, claiming a victory for the president's plan to create a "new republic".

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