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Tunisians overwhelmingly boycotted elections on Saturday for a new parliament that will have virtually no powers after President Kais Saied seized power in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

Farooq Bouskar, chairman of the Electoral Board, said that by the time polling ended at 6:00 pm (1700 GMT), only 8.8 percent of the nine million-strong electorate had cast their votes.

This would be the lowest turnout in any election since the Revolution.

Opposition groups boycotted the election, saying it was part of a “coup” against the only democracy to emerge from the 2011 insurgency across the region.

Bouasker acknowledged that turnout was “modest”, but said this could be explained by “the absence of foreign financing, unlike previous elections”.

“It was the cleanest election with no vote-buying,” he said.

Preliminary results are expected on Monday.

The ballot followed a barely noticeable propaganda campaign, with few posters in the streets, and no serious debate among a public preoccupied with day-to-day economic existence.

It comes nearly a year and a half after Syed deployed military vehicles to suspend parliament, following months of political impasse and an economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

created fear to usurp their power Democracy Established after the ouster of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In the marginalized town of Kasarin, 40-year-old Mohammad Jaridi said he was boycotting the vote.

“I have no faith in the political class,” he said. “They’ve used us as lab rats for all kinds of polls while the economy gets worse and worse.”

Youssef Cherif, a Tunisian expert, said that even though the turnout was just nine percent, “this parliament is considered more democratic and representative than all previous parliaments in the country’s history”.

Boycott of ‘Swang’

Syed, a former law professor, used the July referendum push through a new constitution Giving the presidency nearly unchecked powers, paving the way for a rubber-stamp legislature.

On Saturday he told voters that Tunisia “was breaking up with those who destroyed the country”.

“Those who are elected today should remember that their voters are watching them, and if they do not turn up to work, their mandate will be taken away,” he said at a polling station in a cozy district of Tunis.

But on Friday many Tunisians feigned indifference.

In the polluted phosphate-mining center of Gafsa, Aicha Smari said she voted partly because of the symbolism of the date, 12 years ago when street vendor Mohamed Bouzizi burned himself to death in an act of protest that sparked protests. The performance had started. Arab Spring,

But Abdel Kader Talijani, 55, said he was boycotting.

Subsequent governments “killed the revolution and killed our dreams,” he said.

In the capital, Ridha, a 59-year-old engineer, described the vote as a ‘tamasha’.

Refusing to give his full name, he said, “This president has let us down and is dragging us down the drain.”


Said’s moves against an unpopular political system were initially supported by Tunisians tired of the messy and sometimes corrupt democratic system established after the revolution.

But after about one and a half years, the economic plight of the country has turned from bad to worse.

inflation About 10 percent, and persistent shortages of milk, sugar, and petrol are fueling a growing wave of emigration.

The previous legislature had far-reaching powers in the mixed presidential-parliamentary system enshrined in Tunisia’s post-revolutionary constitution.

Political scientist Hamadi Radici said, but the new chamber “will not be able to appoint the government or condemn it, except under very stringent conditions, which are almost impossible to meet.”

Candidates were required to stand as an individual, in a system that impotent political parties, including Syed’s nemesis, the once-powerful Islamist-leaning Ennahda party.

Analyst Hamza Meddeb said the election was “a formality to complete the political system imposed by Kais Saied and concentrate power in his own hands.”

Almost all political parties in Tunisia, including Ennahda, boycotted the vote.


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