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Tunisia's elections: Fewer seats and an electoral body appointed by the president

Tunisians cast their vote at a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Ben Arous, Tunisia on October 6, 2019 [Yassine Gaidi / Anadolu Agency]
Tunisians cast their vote at a polling station during the parliamentary elections in Ben Arous, Tunisia on 6 October 2019 [Yassine Gaidi/Anadolu Agency]

Some 1,058 candidates are competing for the 161 seats in Tunisia's House of Representatives in the upcoming legislative elections being held on 17 December.

Twelve parties are boycotting the ballot, namely: Ennahda, the Heart of Tunis, the Dignity Coalition , the Tounes Movement, Al-Irada, Al-Amal, Republican People's Union, Workers' Party, Democratic Modernist Pole, the Democratic Current, the Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties, the Free Destourian Party and Afek Tounes.

What distinguishes these elections is that most of the participants are independents.

In mid-September, President Kais Saied issued a presidential decree amending the 2014 electoral law and reducing the total number of parliamentary seats to 161 – from 217.

The law also states that "if one of the candidates in one electoral district obtains an absolute majority of the votes in the first round, they are declared as the winner of the seat."

A second round of voting takes place if no candidate achieves an absolute majority (50 per cent + 1) in the first round, and in this case the second round is between the two candidates who obtained the highest votes in the first round.

The basic law was also amended to reduce the number of the High Authority's members – who supervise elections – from nine to seven. It was also decided that the president will appoint the body's members and they will no longer be elected by a parliamentary majority.

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