Tunisia -

With the end of the second round of legislative elections in Tunisia this evening, Sunday, two teams are arguing about the political results of those elections, which witnessed a great turnout from the voters.

While some say that President Kais Saied failed to mobilize the street behind his political path, others believe that completing the elections will authorize the formation of Parliament to play its role, regardless of the percentage of the vote.

Similar to the cold weather on Sunday morning, the coldness dominated the turnout at polling stations, as voter queues were absent from the scene, in contrast to the movement, competition and intense turnout of Tunisians witnessed in the legislative elections after the fall of the former regime in early 2011.

In a press conference on Sunday evening, the Independent Higher Authority for Elections revealed that the initial percentage of participation in the second round amounted to 11.3% of the more than 7 million and 850 thousand voters who registered in the second round.

Polling stations in the second round of the legislative elections in Tunisia witnessed great reluctance (Al-Jazeera Net)

Indifference to elections

President Qais Saeed had promised that the second round of the elections would be better than the first round, which took place on December 17, in which the participation rate did not exceed 11% of those who registered in the first round, who number about 9 million and 136 thousand voters.

At that time, Saeed said that it is not possible to read the elections from their first round, considering that questioning the elections due to the large percentage of abstention in the first round is tantamount to announcing the result in a sports interview in its first round only.

However, Al-Jazeera Net's tour of polling stations in the governorates of Ariana and Ben Arous, adjacent to the capital, Tunis, proved that voters are not interested in the electoral process, and this comes in the midst of an economic and social crisis that has burdened Tunisians due to high prices and the constant loss of basic consumables.

Youth participation also witnessed a significant decline, by no more than 4%.

The Elections Authority distanced itself from the reason for this decline in participation, which was 30% in the previous elections, stating that it did everything in its power to inform people of the election date and introduce the candidates and their programs.

Slap the boss

The recurring scenario of reluctance to participate in the legislative elections - which President Kais Saied called for about a year and a half after announcing the exceptional measures - represents a severe blow to him, according to the leader of the Salvation Front, Shaima Issa, stressing that the Tunisian people have cornered the president and pronounced him, as she put it.

In her interview with Al-Jazeera Net, she considered that the voters' reluctance "is a blow to the president that his coup project failed to mobilize the street behind him," noting that "the president's insistence on escaping forward to install a parliament belonging to him without powers will increase the country's confusion in overwhelming crises."

This opposition does not see a solution to the political crisis other than the departure of President Kais Saied from power, then the holding of early presidential elections and the formation of a national salvation government, stressing that "the refusal of most of the people to stand behind the absurdity of the electoral process will increase the opposition's resolve in the struggle to restore democracy."

Most parties boycott the elections, considering that what Qais Saeed did is a coup against legitimacy after he froze the previous parliament, dismissed the government, and canceled the 2014 constitution, before drafting a new constitution and amending the election law to become a system of voting for individuals after it was on party lists.

What is important is Parliament, not the percentage of the vote

In this context, Wissam Oweidat, a leader in the People's Movement - one of the political forces supporting the exceptional measures imposed by President Qais Saeed - says that the completion of the electoral process in its first and second rounds will authorize the formation of parliament to carry out its role, regardless of the voting percentage.

Speaking to Al-Jazeera Net, Aweidat attributes the high rate of abstention from the elections to the disappointment of Tunisians due to the deterioration of living and the deterioration of economic and social conditions, but he believes that the president's opponents are seeking to exploit the living conditions as an excuse to go back by claiming that the people reject the path of July 25, 2021, as he described it. .

The speaker considers that the end of the second round of elections will pave the way for a new parliament that allows filling the current legislative void, and moving the country from the exceptional stage to a stage of permanent stability, which enables focusing on the interest of Tunisians in the first place, and allows moving the economic wheel and reassuring international actors.

Results announcement

In the second round of the legislative elections in Tunisia, 262 candidates competed to win the remaining 131 seats out of a total of 161 seats in the next parliament, after 23 candidates won the first round of the legislative elections, of whom only 3 were women.

While 7 electoral districts abroad remained vacant because no one was running in them.

It is expected that the Elections Commission will disclose the preliminary results of the legislative elections in the second round on the first of next February, to announce the final results of the elections and the representatives of parliament on the fourth of next March, provided that the new parliament will hold its first session on March 20. Next March, coinciding with the National Independence Day.

It is noteworthy that the next parliament does not have broad powers to legislate and control power, as it was in the parliamentary system derived from the 2014 constitution canceled by President Qais Saeed, as its powers will be limited and it cannot dismiss or question the president, and draft laws proposed by the president will have priority consideration.