Skip to main content

Hundreds protest against Tunisia constitution ahead of vote

Tunisian protesters raise flags and placards on July 23, 2022, during a demonstration along Habib Bourguiba avenue in the capital Tunis, against their president and the upcoming July 25 constitutional referendum
— Tunis (AFP)

Hundreds of people protested Saturday in Tunis against a draft constitution put forward by President Kais Saied, demanding his resignation two days before Tunisia votes on the disputed charter.

The referendum will take place a year to the day after Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament in a decisive blow against the country's often chaotic young democracy.

"Get out", the demonstrators yelled as they waved Tunisia's red-and-white flag at a gathering on Habib Bourguiba Avenue in the capital.

"The people want the fall of Kais Saied; the people want the fall of the constitution," chanted those who rallied in response to a call by the National Salvation Front (FSN) opposition alliance.

Among the demonstrators, who numbered fewer than 1,000, were elected officials of the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party, the political rivals of Saied.

Tunisia is preparing to vote Monday on a draft constitution that would enshrine the vast powers that Saied has exercised since he sacked the government and suspended parliament on July 25 last year.

His move was seen as a decisive blow against the crisis-ridden political system in Tunisia, and his rivals allege his constitution aims to restore an autocracy.

"A year has passed and Saied has failed to manage the country and present a clear vision," Imed Khemiri, spokesman for Ennahdha, told the crowd.

Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, a veteran opposition figure, also addressed the gathering that was closely monitored by police.

"Saied will get a good slap on Monday because the people will show him they're not interested," he said.

The new text aims to replace the mixed presidential-parliamentary system enshrined in a 2014 constitution, which saw Tunisia praised as the sole democracy to emerge from the 2011 Arab uprisings.

The leader of Saied's "new republic" would have ultimate executive power and would appoint a government without the need for a confidence vote in parliament.

The president would also head the armed forces and appoint judges, who would be banned from striking.

Opponents have called for a boycott of Monday's referendum, but while observers have predicted most Tunisians will snub the poll, few doubt the charter will pass.

Join hundreds of Middle East professionals with Al-Monitor PRO.

Business and policy professionals use PRO to monitor the regional economy and improve their reports, memos and presentations. Try it for free and cancel anytime.

Already a Member? Sign in


The Middle East's Best Newsletters

Join over 50,000 readers who access our journalists dedicated newsletters, covering the top political, security, business and tech issues across the region each week.
Delivered straight to your inbox.


What's included:
Our Expertise

Free newsletters available:

  • The Takeaway & Week in Review
  • Middle East Minute (AM)
  • Daily Briefing (PM)
  • Business & Tech Briefing
  • Security Briefing
  • Gulf Briefing
  • Israel Briefing
  • Palestine Briefing
  • Turkey Briefing
  • Iraq Briefing

Premium Membership

Join the Middle East's most notable experts for premium memos, trend reports, live video Q&A, and intimate in-person events, each detailing exclusive insights on business and geopolitical trends shaping the region.

$25.00 / month
billed annually

Become Member Start with 1-week free trial
What's included:
Our Expertise AI-driven

Memos - premium analytical writing: actionable insights on markets and geopolitics.

Live Video Q&A - Hear from our top journalists and regional experts.

Special Events - Intimate in-person events with business & political VIPs.

Trend Reports - Deep dive analysis on market updates.

All premium Industry Newsletters - Monitor the Middle East's most important industries. Prioritize your target industries for weekly review:

  • Capital Markets & Private Equity
  • Venture Capital & Startups
  • Green Energy
  • Supply Chain
  • Sustainable Development
  • Leading Edge Technology
  • Oil & Gas
  • Real Estate & Construction
  • Banking

We also offer team plans. Please send an email to and we'll onboard your team.

Already a Member? Sign in

Start your PRO membership today.

Join the Middle East's top business and policy professionals to access exclusive PRO insights today.

Join Al-Monitor PRO Start with 1-week free trial