Tunisian president to impose new changes in voting in parliament elections


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TUNIS — Voting in Tunisian parliamentary elections that are expected to be held in December will take place in two rounds, and people will vote for individuals rather than lists as in previous elections, President Kais Saied said on Wednesday.

Saied’s comments confirm that he is moving forward with political changes, although they have not been agreed upon yet with other key players.

The president also said that the Independent Electoral Commission (ISIE) would supervise the elections, although not in its current composition, referring to his intention to change some of its members.

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Saied, who dissolved parliament last week after taking control of executive power last summer and ruling by decree in a move his opponents called a coup, is under strong internal and external pressure to restore the country onto a democratic path.

The political crisis intensified last week when more than half the members of parliament held an online session to revoke Saied’s decrees. Saied responded by dissolving parliament, imposing one-man rule.

Saied, who rejected accusations that he was perpetuating individual rule, said he would have dialog on political reforms, but added that “traitors and thieves” would not participate in the talks.

He has previously said he would form a committee to rewrite the constitution, put it to a referendum in July and then hold parliamentary elections in December.

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Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of the main opposition party – the Islamist Ennahda – told Reuters last week that his party would boycott any elections and referendum Saied calls to restructure the political system unilaterally.

The Free Constitutional Party, whose leader Abir Moussi is a supporter of the late autocratic president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and a bitter foe of Ennahda, echoed Ennahda’s intention to boycott any planned elections which Mousssi said would be a “theater piece.”

Moussi, whose party is ahead in opinion polls, said that according to the constitution Saied should call elections within three months, not in December. (Reporting by Tarek Amara; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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