As a result of a vote in legislative elections by less than 9% of eligible voters, the most powerful opposition alliance in Tunisia has demanded that President Kais Sayed step down from his office. The leader of the National Salvation Front, Nejib Chebbi, has said that the election that took place on Saturday was a “fiasco,” and he has called for widespread demonstrations to demand early presidential elections.
The majority of opposition parties refused to participate in the vote and boycotted it. They accuse Mr. Saied of working to roll back the democratic advancements that have been made since the uprising in 2011, which is a claim that Mr. Saied strongly refutes. After dismissing the prime minister and suspending parliament in July 2021, Mr. Saied successfully pushed through a constitutional amendment the following year that enshrined his one-man rule. The vote on the amendment was boycotted by the most prominent opposition groups.
The previous constitution was replaced with the new one shortly after Tunisia’s fall under the late ruler Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, during which time the Arab Spring was in full swing. It gave the head of state full control of the government and the most power over the armed forces.
Mr. Saied claims that such powers are necessary in order to break the cycle of political stagnation and economic deterioration. His followers agree with him that the impoverished nation in North Africa needs a strong leader to handle corruption and other key issues that limit the growth of the country. They feel this is necessary in order for the nation to go forward.
Officials from Tunisia’s electoral commission said late on Saturday that 8.8 percent of the country’s roughly nine million registered voters have cast ballots in the country’s parliamentary elections. In a statement made shortly afterward, Mr. Chebbi stated, “What happened today is an earthquake.” “From this moment on, we consider Saied to be an illegitimate president, and we demand that he quit after this fiasco.”
A number of prominent political groups are united under the banner of the National Salvation Front, which has also called for large-scale demonstrations and sit-ins. The President Saied, has not provided any public comments on the matter as of yet. The insurrection that took place in Tunisia eleven years ago is frequently held up as the lone success story of the Arab Spring revolts that took place across the region, yet it has not led to stability, either economically or politically.