Tunisia set for final vote on new constitution
TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Tunisia’s Constitutional Assembly will take a final vote on the newly drafted constitution on Saturday, the body’s spokesman said.
A two-thirds majority will be required for adoption of what is being described by some as the most progressive constitution in the Arab world with strong protections for rights and freedoms as well as gender equality.
It is also almost unique in the region for not enshrining Islamic law as the basis of all legislation, which has sparked opposition from religious conservatives.
Following the weekly prayers on Friday, some 2,000 religious conservatives marched through the capital, denouncing the constitution.
“We reject this secular constitution,” they shouted, in the first demonstration by conservatives, often called Salafists, in months.
The march passed with no incidents reported.
After overthrowing their long-ruling dictator in 2011, Tunisians elected an assembly to write a new constitution to turn this North African nation of 11 million into a democracy.
The two-year process has been marked by numerous breakdowns, fights and the deaths of two assembly members — one by assassination, the other on Thursday from a heart attack.
The draft constitution guarantees equality between men and women and freedom of worship.
Assembly spokesman Moufdi Mseddi said that once the document was passed, a signing ceremony should be held on Monday.