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Tunisia: president accuses parties of seeking to thwart election

January 5, 2023 at 11:33 am

Tunisian President Kais Saied in Djerba Island, Tunisia [Mohamed Mdalla/Anadolu Agency]

Tunisian President Kais Saied has accused opposition parties of distributing huge amounts of money to citizens “with the aim of thwarting the second round of the parliamentary election, exacerbating the situation and undermining the stability of the state.” Saied made his comment during a meeting with Interior Minister Tawfiq Charafeddine and the Director General of National Security, Mourad Saidan, it was announced yesterday.

“The meeting addressed the security situation in the country and the violations of the law and of national security by some people behind whom known lobbies are standing,” said the presidency in a public statement. “The president pointed out that these receive huge sums of money from abroad with the aim of further inflaming the situation and undermining the stability of the Tunisian state.” Saied reportedly reaffirmed that freedom does not mean “chaos and conspiracy” against the internal and external security of the state.

“We need to apply the law to everyone, because state security and social peace cannot leave those who desperately seek to harm them outside the circle of accountability and punishment,” he added.

'Big failure' as Tunisia sees only 9% voter turnout - Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

‘Big failure’ as Tunisia sees only 9% voter turnout – Cartoon [Sabaaneh/Middle East Monitor]

The first round of the legislative election took place in Tunisia on 17 December. The official result will be announced on 19 January after appeals have been considered. The second round will take place 15 days later. The poll last month was marked by an extremely low participation rate of 11.22 per cent of 9.2 million eligible voters.

Tunisia has been suffering from a political crisis since 25 July 2021, when President Saied imposed exceptional measures on the country, including the freezing of the powers of parliament, issuing legislation by presidential decrees and dismissing the prime minister and his government.

The majority of political and civil society forces in Tunisia continue to reject these measures, and regard them as a “coup against the constitution”. Others support them and see them as a “course of correction of the 2011 revolution” which overthrew the rule of the then President, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

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