687 parties will compete for 217 parliamentary seats as elections take place in Tunisia today

Parliamentary elections in Tunisia take place today. With 15,572 candidates on the ballot—including 687 parties for 217 seats—it will be

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Photo: MummyTravels

Parliamentary elections in Tunisia take place today.

With 15,572 candidates on the ballot—including 687 parties for 217 seats—it will be exceptionally challenging for any party to win the requisite 109 seats to form a government. With such a large ballot list, and with many Tunisians feeling disillusioned by the political process, voter turnout is expected to be low. According to recent surveys, just 14% of Tunisians trust the parliament and 9% trust the country’s political parties. Meanwhile, a mere 7% believe the economy is doing well, and a third of Tunisians are considering emigration.

The conservative Islamist Ennahda currently holds a plurality with 69 parliamentary seats, but its alignment with the political elite will likely prevent it from dominating this election cycle. Tunisians shifted away from established political parties last month when law professor Kais Said and television station owner Nabil Karoui emerged as the winners in the first round of presidential elections. The two will compete in a runoff on October 13.

In line with the presidential electoral results, expect Said and Karoui’s Qalb Tounes party to dominate today. While the party will struggle to form a government over the next couple of months, expect a strong showing at the ballot box to strengthen their chances in the presidential runoff.