Tunisian President Kais Said has appointed a law professor to head the advisory committee on drafting a new constitution for the “new republic”, the presidency said on Friday that it was dissuading political parties from restructuring the political system.

Said consolidated his sole rule after seizing the executive branch last summer and dissolving parliament to rule the decree, causing his enemies to call it a coup.

He has since said he will replace the 2014 democratic constitution with a new one through a referendum on July 25 and hold new parliamentary elections in December.

The committee, headed by law professor Sadok Belaid, is made up of deans of law and political science. She is due to present her report to the president on June 20, the official ministry said.

In parallel, another committee was set up, comprising six national organizations, including the powerful UGTT union, to present proposals for reforms. This committee also does not include any political party.

In a first reaction to the president’s appointment of an advisory body to draft a new constitution and a proposal for economic and political reforms, the UGTT said it was rejecting those proposals.

Said’s opponents accuse him of trying to consolidate the power of one man, and his actions have been criticized abroad. He denies the allegations and says he is not a dictator and wants to change Tunisia after a “decade of devastation”.

Western countries have called for dialogue involving trade unions, political parties and civil society to return Tunisia to democracy, to help it financially when the country is experiencing its worst financial crisis.

Said’s consolidation of power has accelerated this year: he changed the supreme judiciary and threatened to limit civil society groups, giving the 64-year-old almost complete control.

This month, Saeed also appointed a new election commission, seizing control of one of the last independent bodies in the North African country and questioning the fairness of the election.

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