After the failure of the legislative elections, Tunisia descended into a political impasse

After the failure of the legislative elections, Tunisia descended into a political impasse

Posted in: the average :

On Monday, the electoral authority officially announced the participation of only 11.22% in the legislative elections that the opposition boycotted. Widespread abstention weakens the ultra-presidential system Kais Saied built and ushers in a period of uncertainty in Tunisia.

it’s a The lowest turnout recorded since the revolution Who overthrew the dictatorship in 2011: Only 11.22% of Tunisians registered on the electoral lists cast their ballots during the first round of elections. Legislative electionsThe Tunisian Electoral Commission announced, Monday, December 19th.

This massive abstention culminates in a lackluster campaign boycotted by the opposition parties that accuse her President Qais Said To make Parliament a puppet assembly, since the adoption of a new constitution this summer, which has greatly reduced the powers of MPs.

“These legislative elections represented a paradox because they aim to sign the act of marginalizing parliament. Voters have understood that there is no point in electing representatives with only secondary powers,” summarizes Vincent Geisser, a researcher at the Institute for Research and Studies on the Arab and Islamic World (IRMAM).

In addition to boycotting a large part of the political class, the absence of discussion of ideas, the lack of nominations and the proliferation of profiles unknown to the general public all diverted voters from the ballot.

In several constituencies, Tunisians were only able to vote for one candidate, the only one who succeeded in meeting the harsh conditions it imposed. The new election law To be able to present themselves.

READ  American companies break their silence and take a stand on abortion

“general resignation”

This low participation rate represented an abject failure for President Kais Saied, who had intended to check the political and institutional path he had embarked on since then. His coup is on July 25, 2021. “This is a very big disappointment because Kais Saied relied on the will of the people,” academic Abdellatif Hanachi told AFP. “He campaigned on the grounds that he was popular but the results don’t support it.”

>> To read: From the Kais Said coup to the legislative elections, how Tunisia sank into crisis.

“Even if Kais Saied disappointed the electorate, this record abstention does not mean that there would have been a radical opposition formed against the president,” nuanced political scientist Vincent Gesser. “This disavowal with regard to the electoral process is rather a sign of general resignation, disgust, and popular disappointment with regard to politics,” estimates the researcher at the National Center for Scientific Research.

For his part, Kais Saeed refuses to consider it a personal repudiation. The President of the Republic prefers to minimize these bad results, stressing in a press statement published on Monday evening that “the participation rate is not measured in one round only, but in two rounds.”

Power unlocked

A way to exclude critics who see this low participation as questioning the legitimacy of the established authority. The leader of the main opposition coalition in Tunisia – the National Salvation Front – Ahmed Najib Chebbi called on President Kais Saied to “leave immediately.”

Calls to resign are barely heard in Tunisia, where a weak and fragmented opposition is struggling to present itself as a credible alternative. “There is a political vacuum created in Tunisia, whether on the part of the opposition or in the presidential camp, as there is no party or movement to deliver its messages to public opinion,” notes Vincent Geyser.

READ  In the UK, Rishi Sunak dismissed Suella Braverman from his government and appointed David Cameron

>> Let’s see: In Tunisia, freedom of the press is in danger?

Moreover, the opposition’s room for maneuver is very limited legally. The new council will not be able to remove the president and it will be almost impossible to blame the government. “We are facing a legal dilemma because of the new constitution […] They provide very few mechanisms to challenge presidential legitimacy,” sums up Lilia Blaise, France 24’s correspondent in Tunis.

“The actors who will play a role in the coming months will therefore be outside the political sphere. In the face of this general distortion, we can imagine the return of the security apparatus, either to restore democracy or, on the contrary, to consolidate this authoritarian process. “, Vincent Gesser advances .

Poor attitude towards the IMF

Beyond matters of domestic politics, the period of uncertainty that has begun also affects the weakening of the Tunisian government, which is engaged in crucial negotiations with International Monetary Fund (International Monetary Fund).

The heavily indebted country relies heavily on money from the Washington-based organization to provide a breath of fresh air for its public finances. But the International Monetary Fund announced last week that the agreement on a new loan of two billion dollars has been postponed. blow to Tunisia plunged into a serious economic crisis Its residents have been suffering for months from a shortage of milk, flour and sugar, a record 10% inflation and fuel prices that have increased five times in one year.

“These elections raised concerns in the West about the path chosen by President Said, on the political and democratic levels, and on the economic level,” explains Vincent Gesser. “Western partners have the impression that he rules by rhetoric by appointing people responsible for the social and economic situation but without a real programme.”

READ  The escalation of tensions between Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo worries the African Union

However, after this first round of legislative elections, the international community remains cautious and pragmatic, given the regional situation. The United States encourages more political integration, while French diplomacy “takes note” of the weak turnout, noting “the need to carry out, without delay, the necessary reforms to achieve stability and future prosperity for the country.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *