February 5, 2023
Residents of Tunisia boycott the Parliament elections, and the Electoral Commission records an abstention rate of more than 90%

Residents of Tunisia boycott the Parliament elections, and the Electoral Commission records an abstention rate of more than 90%

The turnout represents the lowest level since the 2011 revolution, and is three times lower than the referendum on the constitution

Yassin Mahjoub/AFPThe parties also boycotted the elections.

This Saturday, the 17th, Tunisians Collectively refused to participate in the legislative elections after a boycott by most of the parties. Lawmakers refused to participate in the elections because they considered it another step towards building an overly presidential system under the current head of state, Kais Saied, who assumed full powers a year and a half ago. The new assembly of 161 deputies will replace the one that Saied suspended on July 25, 2021, but will be registered after a new constitution was adopted in a referendum marked by mass abstention. The head of the electoral commission, Farouk Bouaskar, announced a meager 8.8% turnout at 6pm, a figure that will be supplemented by the late closing of some departments. The preliminary results of the first legislative session will be announced on Monday. It is the lowest voter turnout since the 2011 revolution, after record years, and it is three times less than the voter turnout this summer on the constitution, which was already marked by refrainby 30.5%. This new parliament “must be more democratic and present than all previous parliaments in the country’s history,” analyst Youssef El-Sharif said on Twitter. Busker acknowledged “modest but not disgraceful fees”, arguing that this could be explained by “the complete absence of foreign-financed (…) vote-buying”, unlike, he said, some votes in the past. Most parties boycotted this election, including the Islamist-inspired Ennahda movement, the president’s sworn enemy, which dominated the dissolved parliament. In the new parliament, MPs will not be able to impeach the president and it will be virtually impossible for them to censure the government. In addition, the head of state will have priority in passing its laws. The country has plunged into a powerful and highly polarized political crisis since Saied assumed full power on July 25, 2021, after claiming that the country had become ungovernable since the victory of the 2011 revolution and the war in Ukraine, on which he relies to import wheat.

* With information from AFP