TUNIS, TUNISIA (AP) – Tunisians voted in favour of a new Constitution that critics fear could entrench efforts by the president to consolidate power, according to official preliminary results late on Tuesday.
Initial results announced by Tunisia’s electoral commission said 94.6 per cent of the votes backed the new Constitution, with 5.4 per cent against.
Turnout for Monday’s referendum was low, with under a third of the nation’s voters taking part.
The new political system will see sweeping executive powers given to the president and the removal of key checks and balances, including weakening the influence of Tunisia’s Parliament and Judiciary.
The text was proposed and revised by Tunisian President Kais Saied himself, and has sparked concerns that the North African nation will see a reversal of hard-won democratic gains.
Critics warn that Saied’s new structure could pave the way to a new autocracy in the country that rose up against strongman Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011 and kicked off the Arab Spring pro-democracy protests.