The Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) Sunday announced that the total turnout of voters at the nation’s second round of parliamentary elections was estimated to be 11.3 percent. The figure shows a slight rise in ballots cast since the first round of parliamentary votes in mid-December, which saw a record low participation rate of 8.8 percent.
With the total electorate consisting of 7.8 million people, almost 90 percent chose not to vote. Opposition leaders claimed the low turnout as a demonstration rejecting President Kais Saied’s presidency. ANational Salvation Front leader Ahmed Nejib Chebbi commented, “Tunisian voters ignored this piece of theater and refused to be involved in the process,” reported independent newspaper Al-Moniter. Nejib Chebbi called upon political groups and society to “join hands to work for change, in the form of Kais Saied’s departure and early presidential elections.”
Saied assumed power in 2019 and has since exercised executive powers leading to criticism from opposition. In July 2021 he was accused of staging a “coup” after he fired the Prime Minister and froze parliament for a month. Further advancements in his power were seen a year later, when Tunisians voted in approval of Saied’s new constitution, granting the executive greater powers in the judiciary and also eliminating human rights present in the 2014 constitution. Sunday’s vote also sees a progression in Saied’s political changes, as candidates for this election have been chosen individually instead of party lists. This amendment was passed through a decree issued by Saied in September 2022.