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Tunisian President Saied celebrates constitution victory in referendum despite low turnout

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Tunisian President Kais Saied and his supporters on Monday, celebrated the likely victory of a favourable vote in the July 25 referendum on a new constitution amid protest from a majority of the country’s civil rights groups and opposition politicians.

The opposition came with the release of the draft constitution which gave more powers to the head of state with fears that the country could return to an authoritarian rule which gave rise to the 2011 Arab Spring riots.

The referendum which held exactly a year after Saied sacked the government and suspended parliament in what rivals termed a coup, witnessed only 27.5 per cent of Tunisia’s 9.3 million registered voters, according to the electoral commission after polls closed on Monday night.

The commission, however, said 93 per cent of those who voted supported the new constitution which relied on an exit poll taken by the Sigma Conseil institute, with the initial results scheduled for Tuesday afternoon.

Despite the low turn out of voters, the turnout at the polls was seen by a majority of political observers as a gauge of Saied’s popularity after a year of sweeping changes which included sacking of the parliament, dissolving the electoral commission, sacking of top judges as well as having a new constitution to replace the 2014 constitution which has tilted the regime into a one-man rule.

After the projected outcome of the referendum was announced on national television on Monday night, supporters of the president broke into wild jubilation as they took to the streets of the capital Tunis, waving flags and blaring horns from their cars, with some singing the national anthem or shouting:

“We would sacrifice our souls and our blood for you, Saied!”

While addressing the nation in a state broadcast, the President said:

“Tunisia has entered a new phase. There was a large crowd in the polling stations and the rate would have been higher if the vote took place over two days.”

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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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