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Opposition kicks as new Tunisian constitution wins landslide in referendum vote

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Despite a low turnout of voters, Tunisia’s constitutional referendum conducted by President Kais Saied in July 25 recorded a landslide ‘yes’ votes put at 94.6 percent with the country’s opposition and critics questioning the support the constitution received.

The low turnout was as a result of an intense boycott campaign from the Tunisian opposition, which says the new constitution will potentially lead Tunisia back to one-man rule, with the potential of changing the country from a parliamentary system to a hyper-presidential one, and removes a number of checks and balances.

Results released on Wednesday by the Independent Higher Election Authority (ISIE) show that Tunisians voted to approve the new constitution proposed by Saied, but the country’s opposition says the low turnout of only about 30 percent only highlighted the president’s weakness and the “illegitimacy” of the referendum process.

A leading member of the opposition National Salvation Front, Nejib Chebbi, who addressed a press conference after the result of the referendum was released, said the low turnout “de-legitimises the overall process.”

Also echoing Chebbi’s sentiments, Radwan Masmoudi, founder of the US-based Center for Research of Islam and Democracy said questions have abounded about how accurate the results and the official turnout are, particularly as few election observers have been present

“You can’t approve or adopt a new constitution with less than 30 percent of the voters. In reality, the numbers are far smaller, but the ISIE was under his (Saied’s) control, especially in the interior of the country, and rigged the results in his favour as was expected,” Masmoudi said in a separate interview.

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Recalcitrant Mali to snub ECOWAS sanctions on Guinea in defence of ‘fraternity’

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Mali has continued its recalcitrant posture in the international space as its interim prime minister has revealed that the country will not apply sanctions imposed by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Guinea.

Mali’s government spokesman and interim prime minister, Abdoulaye Maiga, in a statement said the country would not respect the sanctions out of loyalty and diplomatic it has with Guinea.

“Taking into account the solidarity and fraternity between Mali and Guinea, the transitional government has decided to break away from all illegal, inhumane, and illegitimate sanctions imposed on (Guinea) and will take no action on them,” Maiga, said.

The regional bloc, ECOWAS in July lifted sanctions imposed on Mali and Burkina Faso after both announced time table for democratic transition but the sanction on Guinea remained after the body had rejected the three years calendar proposed by the ruling junta led by Colonel Mamady Dumbouya .

The bloc, last week imposed sanctions on Guinea’s ruling junta for taking too long to organize elections and restore democracy after seizing power last year.

Some of the sanction measures include freezing junta members’ financial assets and barring them from travelling to other countries in the region.

Mali, one in Guinea and one in Burkina Faso since August 2020. The lifting of the sanctions is some sort of relief for the countries who cannot afford more economic restrains than the troubling cases of insurgency already caused them.

Mali under the current military junta of Colonel Goita has severed diplomatic relations with some allies, notably France which has been helpful with military support in the fight against terrorism.

The country has also had diplomatic loggerheads with other entities like Ivory Coast, the United Nations, Germany, and Egypt amongst others.

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Nigeria Decides: Ruling party candidate, Bola Tinubu, missing as political parties sign peace pact

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As the 2023 presidential elections draw closer in Nigeria, leading candidates have signed an accord toward a peaceful electioneering process.

The symbolic pact is organized by the National Peace Committee (NPC), chaired by Abdulsalami Abubakar, a former military Head of State.

In attendance were candidates of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, Rabiu Kwankwaso, flagbearer of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP); and Omoyele Sowore, standard bearer of the African Action Congress (AAC), were present at the event.

However, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) was not present but was represented on Thursday by his running mate, Kashim Shettima.

The pact is symbolic as most elections in Africa are often characterized by violence. The timeliness of the pact is rife as the 2023 electoral season officially began on Wednesday, 27 of September which marks the commencement of political campaigns.

In April 2022, Nigeria’s Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in a report said more than 1,149  persons, including INEC employees and security officers, were killed in the three elections held in 2011, 2015, and 2019.

According to INEC, ballot papers, cubicles, and other materials were similarly destroyed.

As Nigerians hope to turn their lot at the next elections, they would also hope to be alive to witness the change, the outcomes depend on them, the public.

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