Russian election observers monitoring Tunisia parliamentary elections
Tunisia has welcomed election observers from Russia to monitor Saturday’s disputed election, which is being boycotted by opposition parties and European Union election monitoring bodies.
Tunisians started voting in a lacklustre election at 8am for a parliament with virtually no power, the final pillar of President Kais Saied's power grab in the birthplace of the Arab Spring.
L’Isie heureuse de recevoir une mission d’observation…russe pour les élections de demain 😂 #farce pic.twitter.com/HrkHJMsF6W— Selim Kharrat (@Selim_) December 16, 2022
Tunisian President Kais Saied indicated earlier in the year he will not accept foreign observers for future votes, having already taken control of the previously independent electoral commission.
The Russian delegation of observers was, however, warmly received.
A team of observers from Russia will "monitor" Tunisia's legislative elections.— Mohamed Dhia Hammami - محمد ضياء الهمامي (@MedDhiaH) December 17, 2022
List of elections w/ observers from 🇷🇺
◦Georgia 2004 pic.twitter.com/ZXimcGSUf9
Farouk Bouasker, the president of the official election commission, said on Friday that the presence of Russian observers was evidence of the "privileged relations between Tunisia and Russia".
In April, President Kais Saied issued a decree which grants him the right to appoint the president and members of the new electoral commission, including Bouasker.
A coalition of 11 political groups called for a boycott of today’s elections, saying the vote is part of a "coup" against the only democracy to have emerged from the 2011 wave of uprisings across the region.
The EU, Tunisia’s largest trading partner, has snubbed the opportunity to oversee election procedures.
"The European Parliament will not observe this electoral process, and therefore will not comment on the process or the results," the Democracy Support and Election Coordination Group said in a statement.
"No individual member of the European Parliament has been given a mandate to observe or comment on this election process on behalf of the Parliament."