Monday, February 6, 2023

Low turnout in parliamentary elections in Tunisia

TUNISIA ( Associated Press) – Tunisia voted on Saturday to elect a new parliament, against a backdrop of living crises and concerns about a democratic rollback in the North African country – which has been rocked by a decade of protests since the Arab Spring. was the origin of Earlier

Opposition parties, including the Salvation Front coalition that includes the popular Ennahda party, boycotted the election, seeing it as part of President Kais Saied’s strategy to consolidate power. The boycott decision would likely put the new chamber under the president, who critics have accused of taking an authoritarian turn.

After polling places closed at 6 p.m., turnout was lower than in previous midterm elections in 2014 and 2019. Associated Press reporters witnessed deserted polling places during Saturday’s election, although they also saw people queuing at various polling stations in the capital, Tunis.

Farouk Bousker, chairman of the Tunis Electoral Authority, said late Saturday that turnout was surprisingly low at 8.8%. Buascar insisted that only about 800,000 of the nine million registered voters turned out to vote.

“It is really an exaggeration to call what happened today an election,” said Saida Ounisi, a former member of parliament that the president dissolved in March after years of political and economic impasse.

Ounisi, who also served as a minister and was elected in the last two elections to the legislature on the Ennahda party list, admitted that she was “a little bitter” about the political situation in which the country was facing an unprecedented financial crisis. Faced with, faced with the pandemic. COVID-19 and the consequences of the war in Ukraine.

Onisi said, “The public was very upset with parliament for the decline of the economy due to the many crises, and the president took advantage of that anger to subvert parliament, crush democracy, and gain more power.”

The last meeting of the Parliament was held in July 2021. Syed suspended and dismissed his government after years of political and economic impasse. He dissolved the chamber in March. Since then, Saied, who was elected in 2019 and continues to enjoy the support of more than half the electorate, has also limited the independence of the judiciary and weakened the chamber’s power.

In a referendum in July, Tunisia approved a constitution that gives the president broad executive powers. Saied, who led the motion and drafted the text, made full use of the mandate in September, when he changed the electoral law to reduce the role of political parties.

Critics say the electoral reforms particularly affect women. Of the 1,055 candidates for Saturday’s election, only 127 were women.

Considered by many to have been a failure of the country’s democratic revolution, a decade later Tunisia was the only country to emerge from the Arab Spring with a democratic government.

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Surk reported from Nice, France.

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