Opposition urges Tunisia’s president to resign after low turnout for elections

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Tunisian opposition has called for the president’s resignation after disastrous parliamentary elections in which less than 9 percent of voters cast ballots.

The elections on Saturday were meant to replace and reshape a legislature that President Kais Saied dissolved last year. It was one of several moves he has made to consolidate his power and tackle Tunisia’s protracted economic and social crisis.

According to provisional figures announced by the president of the electoral commission Farouk Bouaskar, around 800,000 voters took part in the elections out of approximately 9 million registered.

Opposition politician, Ahmed Nejib Chebbi called the unprecedented low turnout “a real earthquake that will have serious consequences.”

The president of the opposition Free Destourian Party also called for Saied’s resignation, as did the opposition Republican Party.

Bouaskar of the electoral commission had predicted a turnout of about 30%. He said participation was lower because parties could no longer use money to bribe voters according to new electoral rules.

There appeared to be multiple reasons for low turnout, including voters’ disillusionment with the political class, their focus on financial worries, as well as opposition to Saied’s political reforms. His critics said he designed the elections without involving political parties or civil society.