Tunisia draft constitution completed

Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly on Saturday completed the long-delayed draft of the country's first post-revolution constitution, its top officials said.

NCA president Mustapha Ben Jaafar "signed on Saturday the final draft of the new constitution," said the body's vice president, Meherzia Laabidi.

Jaafar's office, quoted by state news agency TAP, added that the text will now be presented to President Moncef Marzouki and Prime Minister Ali Larayedh.

No details were given on the final form of the new charter, the drafting of which has been held up primarily by disagreement over what form of government Tunisia should have -- presidential or parliamentary.

On May 3, the head of the Islamist ruling party Ennahda, Rached Ghannouchi, said a compromise had been reached under which neither the president nor the prime minister would have complete control over the executive.

In March, the NCA had set a non-binding April 27 deadline for completing the draft, hoping that it could be put to a vote in early July.

In order to be adopted, the draft must obtain the votes of two thirds of the assembly's members.

Larayedh has promised that the constitution would be adopted and parliamentary and presidential elections held before the end of 2013, nearly three years after dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown by a popular uprising.

kl/al/srm