Tunisia Sees Dismal Turnout in Runoff Vote for Tamed Parliament

  • In World
  • 2023-01-29 20:09:32Z
  • By Bloomberg

(Bloomberg) -- About 11.3% of Tunisia's electorate took part in Sunday's runoff vote for a defanged parliament, the latest sign of popular discontent with politics in the North African country that's mired in economic crisis.

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The provisional turnout was given by Farouk Bouaskar, president of the Independent High Authority for Elections, according to the state-run TAP news agency. The percentage is marginally higher than that for December's first round, but signals little success by President Kais Saied in drumming up interest in choosing what critics have dubbed a "dummy" assembly.

The birthplace of the Arab Spring, Tunisia was once seen as the region's most progressive democracy. But participation in elections has declined from a 2011 peak, hitting a low after Saied assumed sweeping powers and suspended a previous parliament in July 2021, in moves critics dubbed a coup.

Sunday's vote saw 262 candidates vying for 131 seats in the 161-member chamber. Under changes enacted by Saied, the once-powerful parliament has been stripped of many of its prerogatives, will have little say on executive decisions and can no longer impeach presidents.

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