Tunisia: Low Voter Turnout Overshadows Parliamentary Elections

by | Dec 18, 2022 | Political, Tunisia


On 17 December 2022, Tunisia held long-anticipated parliamentary elections. Voter turnout was widely reported at 8.8% with the final government tally revised upward to 11.2%, though the lack of partiality of the election authorities has been an ongoing source of concern. According to the government announcement, 1,025,418 registered voters cast a vote in the elections, with 45,613 ballots canceled, and 23,789 ballots submitted as blank. The spokesman for the Higher Independent Authority for Elections, Farouk Bouaskar, announced that the votes for two candidates were annulled in full and the results of three additional candidates were partially annulled.

Some commentators framed the election as a failure and called for President Saied to resign. Others framed it is an expected additional step away from the democratic norms on what they presume to be Saied’s path to unaccountable rule. Our sources, however, unanimously expressed disinterest. All of them aware of the election, none with plans to vote. Many cited disenchantment with the government’s ability to make meaningful change in the country. Others didn’t understand how they should vote when there was no way to know who any of the candidates were or upon which platforms they were running.


We are continuing to monitor reaction and sentiment as it pertains to President Saied’s reform program. While there are many critics, there continues to be a general sense of disinterest and lost confidence among Tunisians who no longer expect their government to protect or defend their interests. With no foreign actors creating significant pressure to disrupt the current trajectory, we may see a period of intransigence on the political front. The ongoing economic strain, particularly on the country’s working class, would likely drive a return to civil unrest and demonstrations before politics or elections.