Politics & Economics

Tunisia: After Presidential Vote, Citizens Partake in Parliamentary Elections

North Africa

Tunisians went out to participate in the third parliamentary elections since the revolution 2011, although turnout was extremely low.

Only 41% of Tunisians came out to vote in the recent parliamentary elections, with a majority of the population abstaining. Despite the democratic gains made in Tunisia since the 2011 revolution, some citizens have lost faith and touch with the political elite and mainstream parties. This has already manifested itself in the recently held presidential elections where two candidates, Qais Said and Nabil Karoui, with no official party affiliations gained the most votes.

The exit polls from the parliamentary elections show that Ennahda, known to be the party representing the Islamist strand of politics in Tunisia, has garnered the most votes, with a meagre 17.5% of the total share. Qalb Tounes, recently formed by presidential candidate Nabil Karoui, came in second position with 15.6% of the vote.

There are five other prominent parties that have participated in these parliamentary elections, including: Karama, led by the populist lawyer Seifeddine Makhlouf; Tahya Tounes, led by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed; the leftist People’s Movement; the Free Detour Party, with links to the ancien régime of Ben Ali; and the Democratic Current.

The lack of a clear majority in these parliamentary elections means that Ennahda, having gained the highest number of votes, will have to look for a coalition with other parties in order to form a parliamentary majority. If it fails to do so within the space of two months then the President will request another party to form a coalition. If that alternative fails then another election will be organised.

Ennahda’s vote experienced a slump in these elections as it had won 27.8% of the vote in the 2014 elections, which were won overall by Nedaa Tounes, a secularist party that formed a coalition with Ennahda that has since deteriorated.

The parliamentary elections aim to form a government that will have control over a wide range of domestic policy issues. The recently-held presidential elections are organised for the election of a President who will have control of foreign and defence policies.