Tunisian President Kais Saied took the political crisis in Tunisia a step further in holding a constitutional referendum on July 25. Despite the low participation in the vote, less than 30% of the electorate, Saied has claimed the process as a concrete victory in favor of his proposed constitution. Progressives in the country have rejected the constitution and see it as the latest in a series of moves by the president to undermine democracy and establish autocratic rule.
The referendum was widely opposed by progressive and left groups across Tunisia, many of whom formed a coalition to boycott the vote and demand a return to democratic order. For many, the measures taken by Saied threaten to undermine the gains made in the 2011 revolution, many of which were concretized in the 2014 Constitution. One of the major protests the coalition organized days before the referendum was violently repressed by police and security forces. Several people were injured and hospitalized and 11 people were arrested.
The Workers’ Party of Tunisia has been on the front lines of this struggle in defense of democracy and the gains of the revolution. Peoples Dispatch spoke to Ali Jallouli, a leader of the Workers’ Party, to understand the significance of the referendum and the new constitution, and what this means for democracy in the country.
Jallouli highlights that one of the main achievements of the Tunisian revolution was “the significant change in the form of power by overcoming the authoritarian, dictatorial form that characterized the period before January 14, 2011, whether it was the era of General Ben Ali, Bourguiba, or even the monarchy that lasted for several centuries.”
*The views of the above article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Africa Speaks 4 Africa or its editorial team.