Tunisia President amends proposed constitution
Tunisian President Kais Saied is facing mixed reactions due to his choice of making amendments to the constitution.
Tunisian President Kais Saied published an amended version of a draft constitution late Friday to try and fend off criticism he was subjected to following the original text, with many arguing that his power had grown exponentially.
The fresh constitution is one of Saied's latest bids at restructuring Tunisia's political system, and it will be put to a referendum later this month.
The constitutional changes were announced almost a year after Saied assumed executive authority and sacked the government in a move that garnered a lot of criticism, with many calling it a coup.
The legal expert who oversaw the drafting said it was vastly different from what his committee had submitted while claiming that some of the new articles could "pave the way for a dictatorial regime."
The draft makes changes to two articles and retains the President's powers that the post gained through the latest amendment.
On his part, Saied said hours before Tunis released the new text, "Clarifications needed to be added to avoid confusion and interpretation."
Saied then highlighted a change to an article about rights and freedom, which now says "no restriction may be placed on the rights and freedoms guaranteed in this Constitution except by law and necessity imposed by a democratic order."
Except for one other clause, the constitution remains the same as it had been with no notable changes.
One of the biggest changes that Saied, a college professor in constitutional law, seeks is swapping Tunisia's political system, which has been a mixed presidential-parliamentary system, for a presidential system, as the former is often riddled with deadlock and corruption.
Under his proposal, "the President of the Republic carries out executive functions with help from the government," whose chief would be appointed by the President and not subject to confidence votes in parliament.
The amendment would also see the Republic's President becoming the head of the armed forces and be charged with naming judges.
The announcement has been met with mixed reactions, as some have praised Saied's moves against a system that has various issues rendering it "unworkable"; others warned that Saied was targeting his political rivals and rendering the Tunisian system autocratic.