Voting has begun in Tunisia’s election amid scrutiny

Voting has begun in Tunisia’s election amid scrutiny

Written by Tarek Amara

TUNIS (Reuters) – Tunisia started voting on Sunday for a run-off in a parliamentary election that bought simply 11% of the vote within the first spherical final month, a consequence critics of the president mentioned undermined in style assist for sweeping political change.

With political events boycotting the polls, most candidates are independents and are prone to give attention to whether or not the turnout can be larger than in December.

“I am not focused on elections that do not concern me,” mentioned Nejib Sahli, 40, strolling previous an empty polling station in Tunis’s Hay Ittahrir district shortly earlier than voting started.

Voting is open from 8 am to six pm (0700 GMT-1700 GMT).

President Qais Stated ordered the brand new, largely powerless, parliament as a part of a restructured presidential system he launched in 2021 after dissolving the earlier parliament and taking sweeping management over the state.

Stated’s critics accuse him of in search of to dismantle the democratic system put in place after Tunisia’s 2011 revolution, which sparked the Arab Spring, they usually deride December’s ultra-low turnout as proof that his modifications lack in style assist.

The president mentioned his transfer was authorized and essential to avoid wasting Tunisia from years of financial stagnation and political disaster, and referred to as for motion towards his critics, accusing them of treason.

A rising financial disaster, which has prompted shortages of some meals and medication and led governments to hunt worldwide bailouts, has led to widespread disillusionment with politics.

Moody’s credit standing company on Friday downgraded Tunisia’s debt, saying the nation would probably default on its sovereign debt.

Underneath the earlier system, Parliament led the election of the federal government that decided state coverage and managed the day-to-day working of the nation. The President was straight accountable just for international affairs and defence.

Stated’s new guidelines make parliament subordinate to the president, who now presides over the formation or dismissal of the federal government. The foundations additionally scale back the function of political events, with parliamentary candidates listed solely irrespective of their social gathering affiliation.

Because the December vote, state tv has elevated its give attention to Sunday’s runoff vote, together with debates between candidates. Opponents say that is a part of the state’s efforts to extend voter turnout.

Of the 161 electoral districts, runoffs can be held on Sunday in 131 for which no candidate gained greater than half the vote in December. In a number of districts, just one candidate contested they usually had been every elected to the brand new parliament.

(Reporting by Tarek Amra, Writing by Angus McDowall; Modifying by Toby Chopra)

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