Islamists claim victory in vote for Tunisia’s parliament

Cheryl Sanders
October 7, 2019

Polling firm, Sigma Conseil projects the party to garner 17.5 percent of Sunday's vote, translating into 40 seats in the 217-member parliament.

Nabil Baffoun announced on Sunday evening in a press conference that the turnout in the parliamentary elections, which ended earlier, reached 41.32 percent in Tunisian territory.

The vote will come two weeks immediately after the initially round of a presidential election that eclipsed classic political parties in favour of unbiased candidates, a trend very likely to be recurring in the ballot for MPs.

The sidelining of the ruling political course in the 1st round on September 15 was rooted in stress above a stagnant economy, substantial unemployment, failing general public companies and climbing price ranges.

Tunisians head to the polls Sunday for the third parliamentary polls of a successful but hectic transition to democracy since the North African country's 2011 revolution. "That raises the prospect of a low turnout following the dramatic slump in voter participation in the first round of the presidential election".


Preliminary official results are expected mid-week.

Turnout was just 41%, according to the election commission, and no party is expected to get a majority, meaning the victor will seek to create a coalition.

Weeks before the presidential vote, Karoui was detained over tax evasion and money laundering charges made by a transparency watchdog three years ago, which he denies, and has spent the entire election period behind bars.

Saied has suspended campaigning, saying he does not want to gain an unfair advantage over Karoui, who has not been able to meet voters or give any interviews so far from his cell. I don't trust any of them.

The socially conservative professor has not occur out in help of any get together.


Complex talks, or new vote?

The party that emerges as the largest will have to negotiate with other factions to secure the support of a minimum of 109 deputies, in order to obtain a parliamentary majority.

"These elections are of paramount importance, because it is the winners who will decide the future of our country and our major political, economic and social choices", analyst and former government minister Hakim Ben Hammouda said.

But he also pointed to the risk of a new vote in the event that parties are unable to agree a viable alliance.

Aich Tounsi, which calls itself an "anti-party", has emerged from the civil society movement, while Islamist populist lawyer Seifeddine Makhlouf's Karama aims to take seats from Ennahdha, which has been weakened by past alliances with political elites.


That could make building a governing coalition able to command a majority in parliament a vexatious and prolonged process, despite the urgent action that agencies such as the International Monetary Fund say are needed for the economy.

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