Tunisia Runoff Elections Has 11% Voter Turnout
A Tunisian woman casts uer ballot during the second round of the parliamentary elections at a polling station in Ariana, a suburb of Tunis, Tunisia, on January 29, 2023. (Chedly Ben Ibrahim/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Tunisia Runoff Elections Has 11% Voter Turnout

Tunisia had an 11% voter turnout in Sunday’s runoff round of parliamentary elections. It is the same percentage of the electorate that turned out for last month’s initial elections, which were boycotted by all opposition parties. About 887,000 voters went to the polls from a total electorate of 7.8 million, and these elections were boycotted by all of the major parties. The turnout rate often is used as an indicator of whether an election is legitimate or not.  Election results are expected in several days.

The election was held to fill 131 seats in the 161-seat parliament, from among some 262 candidates. Twenty-three seats were filled in the first election and seven districts do not have any candidates. Days before the election, over 40 Tunisian opposition parties and organizations signed a declaration calling to reverse several degrees issued by President Kais Saied, and endorsing an initiative for national dialogue proposed by the Tunisian General Labor Union.

In July 2021, Saied declared a state of emergency, dismissed the government, suspended parliament, and ruled by decree until a new constitution was approved half a year ago, that concentrated power in the hands of the president, meaning that the parliament will have far fewer powers than in the past. Tunisia transformed into a country with democratic rule as a result of the 2011 Arab Spring, until Saied launched what is considered a “coup” by his opponents.

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