Tunisia goes to polls as opposition calls for boycott over economic crisis

Tunisia held its general elections on Saturday with the opposition calling for a boycott over the seemingly powerless nature of the mandate. According to local experts, the polls are being considered to be the final move for President Kais Saied to consolidate his power. Tunisia emerged as a democracy from the Arab Spring but since then, widespread corruption has become a norm for the country and the opposition complained that the elections were merely a part of the “coup”.

The allegations came amid Tunisia’s ongoing negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding a possible $2 billion bailout package. A source close to the developments told AFP that the plan was on the verge of getting the green light but it was postponed till January 2023 at the request of the Tunisian government. As a result, a major part of the campaign by the ruling government focused on keeping a stable government in order to ensure the IMF funds.

Apart from the sparse meetings, Reuters reported that Tunisia did not witness much campaigning from any parties pointing towards a lacklustre view of the elections. Even the population did not show enthusiasm in voting and local media reports claimed that turnout was quite low.

In the past few years, Saied has changed the constitution to allow unlimited powers to the presidency and that has left the parliament with not much say in the matters. While the citizens did back his plans initially, economic crisis and corruption has changed the perspective quite a bit.

According to AFP, the other major change in the Tunisian parliament is the skewed sex ratio when it comes to legislators. While the previous system called for equal representation, the new rules have changed it completely and data suggests that women made up only 15 per cent of the total number of new candidates.

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