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Tunisian president, parliament speaker sign new constitution

January 27, 2014, 18:42 UTC+3 TUNISIA

The new constitution guarantees the freedom of faith and conscience, and requires the president to be a Muslim

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TUNISIA, January 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki and the head of the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly, Mustafa Bin Jaafar, signed the new constitution of the country on Monday, January 27, the TAP news agency reported.

Mazourki told reporters at the signing ceremony that the document signified a victory over dictatorship, but there was still a long way to go to enroot democracy in the country.

According to the constitution, earlier approved by the National Constituent Assembly, Islam is not a source of law in Tunisia. At the same time, it does not say that Tunisia is a secular country. Like the Constitution of 1959, it says that Tunisia is “a free, independent and sovereign state and Islam is its religion.”

The new constitution guarantees the freedom of faith and conscience, and requires the president to be a Muslim.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated President Marzouki on the progress achieved in Tunisia’s transitional process, in particular on finalizing the approval of each article of the Constitution, which represents an important milestone for Tunisia.

International reaction

The Secretary-General reiterated his commitment and that of the United Nations to continue to support the people and the Government of Tunisia as they move towards a more democratic, prosperous and equitable future.

Ban commended the commitment to dialogue and consensus that had marked the democratic transition in Tunisia, which had reached another historic milestone with the adoption of the country’s new constitution. He believes Tunisia’s example can be a model to other peoples seeking reforms.

The Secretary-General encouraged political actors in Tunisia to ensure the next steps of the transition were conducted in a peaceful, inclusive and transparent manner. “Strengthening the democratic institutions created by the constitution and related laws will help promote accountability and the rule of law with full respect to human rights. Close attention must also be paid to ensuring economic growth is achieved in an equitable and sustainable manner,” a UN spokesperson said.

Ban reiterated the UN support to Tunisia and encouraged the international community to increase its support for the country’s efforts to consolidate its democracy and to address the economic challenges ahead.

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