Tunisian voters turned out in low numbers yesterday for a controversial referendum on a new constitution
Ballots were cast by 27.5% of eligible voters, according to the country’s electoral commission.
The ‘yes’ vote for a new constitution – which President Kais Saied argued was necessary to advance political reforms – is expected to pass overwhelmingly.
But his opponents say it would just entrench the powers he seized a year ago and strengthen his personal rule.
According to one exit poll published, the president’s measure received the support of over 90% of those who turned out to vote.
Mr Saied’s opponents – many of whom boycotted the vote – will cite the low turnout as denying legitimacy to what they see as a worrying move back towards autocracy.
Tunisia became the birthplace of the Arab Spring when it overthrew its long-serving ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
The date of the referendum was chosen by President Saied to mark a year to the day since his dramatic move to suspend parliament and dismiss the government.
Since then, he has effectively ruled by decree.
The new constitution, which replaces one drafted in 2014 three years after the Arab Spring, would give the head of state full executive control, supreme command of the army and the ability to appoint a government without parliamentary approval.