'Understand people's reluctance': Tunisian party takes aim at president after low voter turnout

'Understand people's reluctance': Tunisian party takes aim at president after low voter turnout
More of Tunisian President Kais Saeid's opponents have lashed out at him after the first round of general elections last week saw an extremely low turnout.
2 min read
22 December, 2022
Only 11.2% of eligible voters showed up to cast their ballots [Getty]

Tunisia’s People’s Movement party on Thursday called on President Kais Saied to come to terms with the public’s "reluctance" to participate in the parliamentary elections after a dismal turnout last week.

Just 11.2% of Tunisia's 9.2 million eligible voters cast ballots on 18 December for a new parliament stripped of most of its authority, the culmination of Saied's power grab since July last year where he has moved to consolidate a one-man rule.

His opponents called it a coup.

The People’s Movement said in a statement Saied should "absorb the lesson and understand the message of popular reluctance, not only on the elections, but on the [country’s] entire political process".

The party affirmed, "its commitment and adherence…to national sovereignty, activating the social role of the state, and launching a transparent and strict accountability process for all those who have committed crimes against the people over the past decade".

The movement said Tunisia’s difficult situation necessitates quick action on the economic and social crises facing Tunisians to ease their burden.

The North African nation is under pressure from the International Monetary Fund to cut government subsidies - including f0r energy, food and water - in order to qualify for a recovery package the country desperately needs to save public finances from collapse. Tunisians earlier this year faced long queues at petrol stations.

A second round of elections is planned for 20 January after the results of the first round are announced on 19 January, according to the Tunisian election committee.

The polls have been called a sham by political opposition groups, most of which are boycotting the vote.

It follows three weeks of barely noticeable campaigning, with few posters in the streets and no serious debate among a public largely preoccupied with pressing financial concerns.