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Tunisians snub President's national consultation

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Johanna Geron/AP


It's only days before the national consultation in Tunisia closes but so far fewer than 6% of Tunisians have taken part.

The consultation was launched by Tunisian president Kais Saied in January after last year's power grab described by his critics as a coup.

Many in the country see this as a step towards change.

"I think everyone's heard about the national consultation, in the initial stage we noticed there wasn't much turnout but some reluctance. With this reluctance, we volunteered. Why did we volunteer? We have a deep belief that there needs to be change in the country", said Muna Akarmi, a volunteer talking to people about the national consultation.

The online questionnaire forms part of a process to help rewrite the Constitution of Tunisia. 

Although widely publicised, some feel that a large part of the population, particularly in rural areas, are excluded from this process.

Saloua al-Habachi is a masters' student and is keen to highlight some of the issues.

"My opinion is that this consultation is very important but I have a few comments on it because it didn't reach every level of society, because some people found it difficult to use the consultation, with their mobiles, electronic problems with their phones, in the countryside, the elderly, they weren't able to participate. There were difficulties in taking part in the consultation". admits Saloua al-Habachi.

Amidst rising prices and after years of unemployment and inflation many in the country feel disillusionned with politics.

"I think the agenda of people today, of the Tunisian population, is a socio-economic one. I think people are so preoccupied with issues like the lack of essential goods, by the cost of living, rising inflation, by socio-economic difficulties, that they are waiting for answers on this level" said Hamza Meddeb, political analyst and researcher.

Saied is accused by his rivals of wan.ting to bring autocracy back to Tunisia. The President has already admitted he wants to install a more presidential regime.

The Islamist-inspired Ennahdha party and several other political blocs have called for a boycott of the consultation.

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