President Saied’s ‘online consultation’ leaves Tunisians on edge

North African nation is divided over digital survey seeking citizens’ suggestions on changes to the constitution.

The launch of an online public consultation over proposed constitutional changes in Tunisia has sparked a debate in the North African country,  with the process leaving grey areas in the midst of political uncertainty even after President Kais Saied announced a roadmap out of the crisis. 

Coming just over a decade after a citizen of the country sparked off the historic Arab Spring protests, President Saied’s move is being seen as revolutionary by many, but for many Tunisians, it might turn out into just a cosmetic exercise to prop up the embattled leader’s political fortunes. 

The digital drive, titled “Your opinion, our decision”, was launched on January 15, with the aim to collect citizens’ suggestions regarding political reforms. The process was put forward by President Saied ahead of a referendum on a new draft constitution planned for July 25, a day that marks the completion of one year after the president dismissed the government, suspending parliament and seizing full powers.

The unprecedented initiative, which runs through March 20, is the first stage of a roadmap announced by President Saied on December 13. 

He said that there would be an online public consultation on revising the Tunisian constitution; that a committee would be appointed to draw up the suggested amendments before the constitutional referendum in July; that new parliamentary elections would be held on December 17, the date declared as the official “anniversary of the revolution”. 

The consultation includes — politics and elections, economy and finance, society, development, health, education and culture. Each topic also has questions with a space for free…


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