A Tunisian woman casts her ballot for parliament on Sunday at a polling station in the capital Tunis. (Fethi Belaid/AFP via Getty Images)

Tunisians Vote for New Parliament

Tunisians went to the polls to elect a new parliament on Sunday, with analysts saying that initial reports of a light turnout could indicate disillusionment over the country’s daunting economic problems. The vote is seen as something of a referendum on unemployment rates not seen since before the 2011 Arab Spring that toppled strongman Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, and on continued high rates of inflation. In Tunisia, the parliament votes for a coalition headed by a prime minister who handles domestic issues. The two largest parties, Heart of Tunisia and the moderate Islamist Ennahda, insist they will not sit together in the same government, meaning coalition talks could drag on. It is the president who handles foreign policy and defense matters, and Tunisians will go to the polls again in exactly a week to vote in the second round of presidential elections between a populist and a media mogul who is in jail for alleged corruption.

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