Tunisia constitution committee chief delivers draft to president

TUNIS, June 20 (Reuters) - The head of Tunisia's constitution committee delivered the draft of a new constitution to President Kais Saied on Monday, the presidency said, with expectations that the document will grant more powers to the president.

Saied, who seized executive power last year, dissolved parliament and ruled by decree - a move opponents called a coup. He said on Monday some chapters needed amendments.

The president intends to put the new constitution to a referendum on July 25, though the opposition has said it will boycott the plebiscite. Thousands of Tunisians protested against the referendum in the capital over the weekend.

Saied named law professor Sadok Belaid to draft the new constitution, without including Tunisia's main political parties such as the Islamist Ennahda and Free Constitutional parties. Deans of universities refused to join the committee.

The powerful UGTT union also refused to participate in talks for the new constitution, saying the outcome had already been decided. Only some experts and small parties took part in talks.

Sources told Reuters the draft includes some chapters of the 2014 constitution, especially on freedoms, while the main focus will be on economic aspects.

They added that the draft proposes a system with a powerful president who appoints the prime minister.

Under the 2014 constitution, which enjoyed broad support, parliament had a big role and could withdraw confidence from the government. The winning party in parliamentary elections named a prime minister who formed the government.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Alex Richardson and Richard Chang

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