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Opinion Tunisia’s constitutional referendum represents a dark day for democracy

On Monday, Tunisians voted on a new constitution proposed by President Kais Saied. Marks: At stake is nothing less than the fate of the Arab world’s most promising experiment in democratic governance. She says Saied is hurtling toward a style of authoritarian hyper-presidentialism that could be worse than the dictatorships that came before. Marks says Tunisia's example gave hope to an entire region; Saied's constitution obliterated basic requirements for democratic governance, she says. The draft, first issued with dozens of grammatical errors, enshrined the Tunisian state as the sole and best interpreter of sharia law for all Muslims, Marks says. It is a massive insult to the dignity and hard-won democratic achievements of Tunisians.

Many Tunisians vowed to boycott Monday’s referendum, but minority who do vote will likely vote yes. The last-minute nature of this crude plebiscite has stymied efforts to organize, observe and vote “no” Most Tunisians seem beaten down by economic hardship. The absence of any minimum threshold for turnout means Sa