In Sunday’s second round of voting, voters will choose among 262 candidates to fill the remaining 131 seats.
Amid the North African nation’s political and economic woes, Tunisia is set to vote in a second round of parliamentary elections.
Polls opened at 8am (07:00GMT) on Sunday and voters were picking among 262 candidates to fill the remaining 131 seats.
In seven constituencies without candidates, special elections are likely to be held in March to fill seats.
President Keith Saeed dissolves the government and freezes parliament in July 2021, then dissolves parliament and amends the constitution – abolishing the mixed parliamentary system that has been in place since 2014.
Since Saeed was elected president in 2019 with 72% of the vote, his popularity among Tunisians has declined.
First round of voting in December Only 11.2% of registered voters participated According to election officials, 23 candidates took seats outright, 10 because they were unopposed and 13 because they won more than 50 percent of the vote.
Sunday’s second-round vote is seen as the final pillar of Saeed’s political transformation in the birthplace of the Arab Spring. Yet the new legislature has little power to hold the president accountable.
“I’m not going to vote,” said Ridha, a carpenter in the capital Tunisia, who declined to give his last name, according to AFP. “I can’t trust anyone anymore.”
Analysts predict turnout among Tunisia’s 7.8 million eligible voters will fall again as major parties, including Said’s main rival, the Ba’ath Party, stage a boycott.
Some officials of the Ba’ath party have been jailed, the party refused to participate in the parliamentary elections and held several protests.
“This parliament will have little legitimacy and the president, who has omnipotence thanks to the 2022 constitution, will be able to control it as he sees fit,” Youssef Cherif, director of the Columbia Global Center in Tunisia, told AFP.
Tunisians have “lack of interest” in politics, Cherif added.
With inflation above 10 percent and repeated shortages of basic goods ranging from milk to cooking oil, Tunisia’s 12 million people have been focusing on more pressing problems.
Global ratings agency Moody’s downgraded Tunisia’s credit rating to Caa2 on Saturday, citing “a lack of comprehensive financing to date to meet the government’s substantial funding needs”.
According to the latest data from the National Bureau of Statistics, the unemployment rate in poverty-stricken areas in China has reached more than 18%, exceeding 25%, and the inflation rate is 10.1%.
Tunisia has suffered record budget deficits for years, affecting its ability to pay suppliers of medicines, food and fuel, leading to shortages of milk, sugar, vegetable oil and other staples.
Amid slow growth, poverty and rising unemployment, an estimated more than 32,000 Tunisians have migrated irregularly over the past year.
The election was held in the shadow of Tunisia’s protracted negotiations with the International Monetary Fund over a nearly $2 billion bailout package.