Tunisian voters deceived in “useless” election

Tunisian voters deceived in “useless” election

Tunisian voters were deceived into polling stations on Sunday the 24th of December according to Alarabiya news and agencies.

In the first local elections for a second chamber of parliament, Tunisians were herded to vote under a constitution that was pushed through in 2023 by president Kais saied.

His new constitution established two chambers of parliament. The Assembly of People’s Representatives (ARP) and a National Council of Reigeons and Districts, which was approved at a referendum.

Former law professor, Saied was elected president in 2019. Two years later he seized executive powers, dissolving parliament by sacking the government and declared he would rule by decree.

Moreover, Saied’s opponents argue that the election was the latest advance in the president’s “authoritarian” agenda. While Tunisia struggles with an economic crisis, the opponents called for a boycott of the election stating they were “illegal” and “imposed”.

With very limited powers, the ARP began its work in early 2023 after an election was boycotted by spurned voters.

Calling it a “useless” election, more than 260 prominent figures in Tunisia signed a petition against it.  They stated the aim of the election was to “weaken local power, disperse it, and make it another docile instrument in the hands of the executive power”. They believed Saied’s government “continues to implement its political project imposed on” people in the country.

READ: More low turnouts in Tunisian elections

On the 24th, Tunisia’s 9 million eligible voters were asked to choose more than 2,000 councillors from around 7,000 candidates. As citizens largely rejected the initiative, only 11.66% of the electorates participated in the polls.

The elections will result in the establishment of local, regional, and district councils, allowing for the creation of the second chamber.

Since February 2023, authorities have jailed more than 20 members of the opposition.  Ennahdha leader Rached Ghannouchi and Jawhar Ben Mbarek, the co-founder of the National Salvation Front, among others.

READ: Hundreds of Tunisians demands release of Saied’s opponents 

The inauguration of the National Council of Regions and Districts is scheduled for June 2024. After, the council will decide on the state budget and regional development projects.

Alarabiya news and agencies.


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