TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisian President Kais Saied issued a decree on Wednesday summoning voters to a referendum on a new constitution on July 25, the official newspaper said, ignoring calls from the opposition to reverse the controversial decision.

Saied last week appointed law professor Sadok Belaid to lead an advisory committee comprising law and political science deans to draft a new constitution for a ‘new republic’, excluding political parties from restructuring of the political system.

Major political parties have said they will boycott the unilateral restructuring of politics.

The powerful UGTT union also refused to participate in the restricted dialogue proposed by the president as he rewrites the constitution, saying it would organize a national strike in state enterprises and public services.

Political cartoons about world leaders

Belaid said earlier on Wednesday he would go ahead with anyone who sits on the panel after leading academics refused to join, raising concerns that restructuring the political system will not enjoy broad consensus. .

The only question on the referendum will be: “Do you agree with the new constitution?” says the gazette.

The gazette added that voting will start at 6 a.m. and end at 10 p.m. on July 25.

Saied, who took executive power and dissolved parliament to rule by decree, has since said he would replace the 2014 democratic constitution with a new one by referendum and hold new parliamentary elections in December.

Opponents of the president accuse him of a coup that undermined the democratic gains of the 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring, but he says his actions were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from a crisis extended policy.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara and Lilian Wagdy; Editing by Chris Reese)

Copyright 2022 Thomson Reuters.