TUNISIA (Reuters) – Voting begins on Saturday in Tunisia’s parliamentary elections that will strengthen President Keith Saeed’s grip on power and limit what his opponents have condemned as a campaign against a country emerging from dictatorship. One-man rule. .
Happened to years after vegetable vendor Mohamed Bouazizi set himself on fire during a protest that sparked the Arab Spring, The vote was boycotted by parties accusing Saeed of staging a coup.
Voters will opt for a parliament largely weakened by a new constitution approved with low turnout in a July referendum masterminded by Saied to return Tunisia to the presidency system.
Nejib Chebbi, who heads the anti-Sayyid coalition that includes the Ba’ath Party, called the election a “stillborn farce”.
Saeed shut down the previous parliament last year, surrounded the legislature with tanks and took near-total power.
The vote did not appear to pique the interest of a population weary of political dysfunction and struggling with economic hardship.
Voting hours are 8am-6pm (0700 GMT-0700 GMT).
Saied, a former law lecturer who was a political independent when elected president in 2011, has described the election as part of a roadmap for ending the chaos and corruption he Say Tunisia, which suffered under the previous system.
His opponents, including the Islamic Baath Party, meanwhile accused him of staging a coup, and rejected the vote and every other move the president has made since last summer when he dissolved parliament and began ruling by decree.
The election came against a backdrop of poverty exacerbated by the economic crisis, leading many to attempt the perilous journey to Europe on smugglers’ boats.
In the absence of the major parties, there are 1, candidates— -Only 120 of women- are running for 120 seats.
For – seven of them in Tunisia, three by expatriate voters – only one candidate. The other seven seats, decided by expatriate voters, had no candidates at all.