Tunisians will vote within the second referendum for the defanged parliament

Tunisia holds the second spherical of elections for a toothless parliament on Sunday, with voters preoccupied by financial issues and turnout seen as essential within the politically divided nation.

A complete of 262 candidates are vying for 131 seats from Tunisia’s 161-member parliament, which was largely stripped of its powers following a collection of extraordinary measures launched by President Kais Saied on July 25, 2021.

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Saied sacked the authorities and froze parliament earlier than dissolving it and amending the charter, abolishing the hybrid parliamentary system that had been in place since 2014.

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The most up-to-date polls, whose first spherical in December noticed simply 11.2 percentage of registered voters participate, are seen because the last pillar in Mr Saied’s transformation of politics within the birthplace of the Arab Spring.

The new legislature has nearly no strength to maintain the president accountable.

“I don’t plan to vote,” stated Ridha, a carpenter within the capital Tunis who declined to offer his final identify. “I can’t trust anyone anymore.”

Analysts predict low turnout once more amongst Tunisia’s 7.8 million eligible voters for the second spherical as main events which include Saied’s arch-rivals, the Islamist-inspired Ennahdha, maintain a boycott.

Youssef Cherif, director of the Columbia Global Centers in Tunis, stated that “this parliament will have very little legitimacy, and the president, who is all-powerful thanks to the 2022 constitution, will be able to control it as he sees fit.”

Dramatic scenario

Tunisians have a “lack of interest” in politics, Cherif added.

With inflation above 10 percentage and repeated shortages of simple items from milk to cooking oil, Tunisia’s 12 million individuals have been targeted on greater prompt troubles.

Global credit score score company Moody’s on Saturday downgraded Tunisia’s credit score score to Caa2, citing “the lack of comprehensive financing to date to meet the government’s large financing needs”.

Lawyer and political professional Hamadi Redissi referred to as the financial scenario “dramatic”.

“Along with rising prices, we see shortages and the president pathetically blames ‘speculators, traitors and saboteurs,'” he stated.

More than 32,000 Tunisians are estimated to have emigrated irregularly within the previous yr, amid sluggish progress and rising poverty and unemployment.

The election takes place within the shadow of Tunisia’s protracted negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a bailout really worth almost $2 billion.

Cherif stated the talks stumbled over US issues about the way forward for Tunisian democracy and Saied’s obvious reluctance to “accept the dictates of the IMF” on politically touchy troubles, which include subsidy reforms.

Redissi, in the meantime, stated there was an “obvious discrepancy” between Saied’s rhetoric towards the IMF and this system his authorities proposed to the lender “on the sly.”

“We have a president who opposes his own government,” he stated.

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