Tunisia reports low turnout in second vote for defanged parliament

AFP , Monday 30 Jan 2023

Just 11.4 percent of Tunisian voters took part in a second round of elections for the toothless legislature, the electoral board said Monday in a final figure.

A Tunisian votes in the second round of the legislative elections in Tunis, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2023. AP


The two-round vote that ended Sunday saw the lowest participation since the 2011 revolution that toppled dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked the Arab Spring uprisings.

The legislature was defanged under a new constitution rammed through last year by President Kais Saied, the centrepiece of his overhaul of Tunisian politics which gave his office almost unlimited powers.

Only 895,002 out of over 7.8 million registered voters went to the polls on Sunday, the ISIE electoral board's chairman Farouk Bouasker told journalists in Tunis, raising the figure by a tenth of a percent from the 11.3-percent turnout initially reported.

Bouasker said 67.6 percent of those who cast ballots were men.

Experts say the Tunisian public, grappling with high unemployment, inflation and shortages of basic goods, has lost interest in politics.

Parties from across Tunisia's divided opposition had called for a boycott of the poll.

ISIE also announced initial results for each seat, but it was unclear what the results meant given that candidates were not allowed to run on party affiliations.

The new legislature will also include a National Council of Regions, but details on how the latter will be selected have yet to be announced.

Last year's constitution, passed by a referendum that saw just 30.5-percent turnout, makes it almost impossible for parliament to hold the government to account, and the president cannot be impeached under any circumstances.

Ten lawmakers will be needed to propose bills, and those put forward by the president will be given priority.

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