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Tunisians vote to expand president’s powers

Tunisians voted to drastically expand the president’s powers and critics warn the referendum could usher in a dictatorship.
An elderly Tunisian man votes during a referendum on a draft constitution put forward by the country's president.

TUNIS, Tunisia —A referendum on a new constitution that grants Tunisia’s president far-reaching powers passed overwhelmingly, according to results released by Tunisia’s election commission Tuesday night, delivering a stinging rebuke of the country’s post-revolutionary order and driving fears of a return to autocracy. 

According to the Independent High Authority of Elections (ISIE), which President Kais Saied took control of in April, 94.6% of Tunisian voters on Monday endorsed the constitution put forward by the president. Turnout for the vote was low, however, with just over 30% of people participating compared to more than 55% in the last presidential election, signaling waning enthusiasm for the reforms at a time of growing economic distress, and dealing a blow to Saied’s efforts to secure legitimacy for the project.

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