Tunisia

  1. Tunisia court suspends dismissal of judges - Reuters

    BBC World Service

    A court in Tunisia is reported to have suspended the dismissal of 50 judges who were fired by President Kais Saied two months ago, the Reuters news agency reports.

    He had accused them of corruption and protecting terrorists.

    In response, judges across Tunisia went on strike in a significant challenge to Mr Saied's authority.

    Opponents of the president saw the sackings as another attempt to increase his power and weaken civil institutions.

  2. US 'concerned' over Tunisia's new constitution

    A billboard depicting Tunisia's Kais Saied hangs on the side of a building in the east-central city of Kairouan, on July 26, 2022
    Image caption: President Kais Saied has been ruling largely by decree

    The US says it "shares concerns" that Tunisia’s new constitution could weaken democracy and erode respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms.

    It comes after the approval of a new Tunisian constitution that gives sweeping powers to the president in the 25 July referendum marked by low voter participation.

    The referendum, which delivered a yes vote of 94.6% with a turnout of 30.5% - was boycotted by opposition parties.

    The US State Department has urged an “inclusive and transparent process” in future that would involve Tunisians who did not participate or opposed the referendum.

    In a statement, it said Tunisia had “experienced an alarming erosion of democratic norms over the past year” and reversed gains made since the popular uprising of 2011.

    “Since July 25, 2021, the suspension of constitutional governance, consolidation of executive power, and weakening of independent institutions have raised deep questions about Tunisia’s democratic path, both in Tunisia and internationally,” it said.

    President Kais Saied dismissed parliament a year ago and has been ruling largely by decree.

  3. Tunisian president to order parliamentary polls

    BBC Monitoring

    The world through its media

    A Tunisian protester holds up a caricature of Tunisian President Kais Saied looking at Rached Ghannouchi the president of the islamist Ennahda party
    Image caption: A referendum vote result has caused an outcry among opponents of the president

    Tunisian President Kais Saied says draft decrees will be prepared for the holding of an election for a new parliament and a second chamber for regions.

    It came a day after preliminary results of a referendum indicated a controversial constitution was approved though turnout had been low.

    The president noted, during a meeting with Prime Minister Najla Bouden Romdhane on Wednesday, the need to prepare a draft decree related to the election of a new parliament and the Council of Regions and Districts, the presidency said in a statement.

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    The president also noted that a draft decree related to the Constitutional Court would be prepared, in accordance with provisions of the new constitution, the statement added.

    Tunisia's election commission said late on Tuesday that preliminary results indicated that a referendum on the constitution delivered a yes vote of 94.6% with a turnout of 30.5%.

    The vote result has caused an outcry among Mr Saied's opponents.

  4. Why did Tunisia turn its back on democracy?

    Video content

    Video caption: Is Tunisia moving away from democracy?

    Tunisia achieved democracy after the Arab Spring. Is it now returning to autocracy?

  5. Tunisia constitution approved in poor-turnout vote

    BBC World Service

    Tunisian President Kais Saied celebrates with his supporters after Monday's vote
    Image caption: Tunisian President Kais Saied celebrated with his supporters after Monday's vote

    The electoral commission in Tunisia says initial results from Monday's referendum show that 94.6% voted in favour of constitutional changes that grant more power to President Kais Saied.

    Official turnout was low, given by the commission as 28%.

    Opposition parties had boycotted a ballot that they had said would return Tunisia to autocracy.

    The opposition groups said the results were not legitimate.

    Mr Saied's political rivals accused the country's electoral board of "fraud" and said they would not recognise the newly approved constitution - which is expected to come into force when the final poll results are published.

    There was no immediate reaction from President Saied or from the country's Electoral Commission to the accusations.

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  6. Tunisian leader celebrates expected referendum win

    BBC World Service

    Supporters of president Kais Saied light flares as they celebrate after exit poll indicates voters backed new constitution in Tunis, Tunisia July 25, 2022
    Image caption: Supporters of the president overnight in the capital, Tunis

    Tunisian President Kais Saied has been celebrating his apparent victory in a referendum on a new constitution that gives him almost unlimited powers.

    Mr Saied appeared in front of jubilant supporters in the early hours of the morning - after an exit poll indicated that more than 90% of those who had voted had supported the president's plan.

    But turnout was low - less than 30%.

    Mr Saied said it would have been higher if voting had taken place over two days.

    He promised that Tunisia would now enter a new phase after a decade of political deadlock that followed the Arab Spring of 2011.

  7. Tunisian leader set to win controversial referendum

    BBC World Service

    Newsroom

    Supporters of President Kais Saied rejoice on Habib Bourguiba Avenue after early estimates point to an almost certain victory

    Supporters of Tunisian President Kais Saied have been celebrating his apparent victory in a referendum on a new constitution which tightens his grip on power.

    Hundreds took to the streets in the capital, Tunis, after an exit poll indicated that more than 90% of those who voted backed the president's plans.

    But turnout was low - about one in four voters took part.

    The opposition staged a boycott, accusing Mr Saied of taking Tunisia back towards autocracy.

    Correspondents say the president's popularity appears to have waned since he suspended parliament and sacked the government a year ago.

    Read more on Tunisia's referendum:

  8. Tunisians begin to vote in controversial referendum

    BBC World Service

    Tunisians vote in a referendum on a draft constitution put forward by the country's president, at a polling station

    Tunisians are voting in a referendum on a controversial new constitution which would entrench significant new powers seized by the president, Kais Saied.

    He dismissed parliament a year ago and has been ruling largely by decree.

    The proposed constitution would formalise this, subordinating parliament to the president and removing most checks on his authority.

    Mr Saied and his supporters say the changes are needed to end political factionalism and corruption.

    But critics say the reforms would end the relatively open democracy brought in after the popular uprising of 2011 which drove the autocratic former president, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, from power.

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  9. Video content

    Video caption: Tunisians gear up for constitutional referendum

    Tunisia's President Kais Saied may succeed in tightening his grip through a constitutional referendum on July 25. But critics say it will push the country back to a one-man rule.

  10. Tunisia Islamist opposition leader arrives in court

    BBC World Service

    Tunisia's Islamist movement leader Rached Ghannouchi gestures upon arrival at court in Tunis, Tunisia July 19, 2022

    The head of the Islamist Ennahda party in Tunisia, Rached Ghannouchi, has arrived in court for questioning by the counter-terrorism prosecutor.

    He's being investigated over allegations of corruption and money laundering connected to a charity that's linked to Ennahda.

    Mr Ghannouchi says the accusations against him and his party are politically motivated.

    Ennahda has led opposition to President Kais Saied who has effectively introduced one-man rule, with a referendum on changing the constitution due to be held this month.

  11. Tunisian Jabeur honoured after Wimbledon heroics

    Ons Jabeur awarded with the Order of Sports Merit, Tunis, Tunisia

    Tennis player Ons Jabeur, who became the first African or Arab woman to reach a Grand Slam final, has been honoured by Tunisian President Kais Saied on Thursday for "her remarkable sporting successes".

    The 27-year-old Tunisian lost to Elena Rybakina from Kazakhstan in a gripping Wimbledon final last weekend.

    Jabeur was awarded the country's Great Medal of the National Order of Merit.

    President Saied praised Jabeur for being a true ambassador of her country.

    Jabeur said she hoped to inspire other Arab and African players to succeed at tennis.

    Jabeur has had a stellar rise over the past year, having moved up to number two in the WTA rankings to make her the highest-ever ranked African singles player (male or female).

  12. Tunisia president warns against vote 'interference'

    Tunisian President Kais Saied has warned against interference with the referendum later this month on a controversial new constitution.

    The president said any “attempts to interfere with the voter registration and polling station change processes must be addressed".

    “We will not tolerate the actions of those who want to make the referendum fail,” he said.

    The president made the remarks when he met the head of country’s electoral body, Farouk Bouasker, at the Carthage Palace on Monday.

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    It comes amid renewed opposition against the 25 July referendum on the new constitution which the president has promoted.

    On Monday, an opposition alliance, the National Salvation Front, renewed its calls for Tunisians to boycott the referendum.

    Critics accuse President Saied, who sacked the government last July and dissolved parliament before seizing executive power, of trying to return the country to one-man rule.

    He denies the claim.

  13. Video content

    Video caption: Meet the Tunisian handball triplets causing a storm

    We meet Tunisian handball triplets Amine, Anis and Yassine, who are making headlines in the youth game.

  14. Critics warn Tunisia president's draft powers still too great

    Cat Wiener

    BBC World Service Newsroom

    A woman waves the national flag at a protest against proposed constitutional changes
    Image caption: Legal experts fear it could pave the way to dictatorship

    Tunisia's President Kaïs Saïed has published amendments to his draft constitution - in an attempt to counter some of the criticism the document faced when it was published last week.

    Articles directing the state to work to achieve the objectives of Islam now add "within a democratic system".

    It also slightly strengthens constitutional freedoms.

    Critics say the changes are minor and will not substantially limit the sweeping powers Mr Saïed plans to give himself, after sacking the government and suspending parliament last year.

    The new constitution will be put to a referendum later in July.

    The legal expert who oversaw the constitution's drafting says the final document is completely different from what his committee proposed, and could pave the way to dictatorship.