Run-off election campaign: "Dull" and "featureless," according to observers
27/01/2023 14:50, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP)-The election campaign for the run-off of the legislative elections ends on Friday at midnight. It started on January 16, 2023 in 131 constituencies. Saturday will be, therefore, the day of electoral silence. The ballot is due on Sunday, January 29.

The organisations engaged in the elections have deployed their observers in the different constituencies for a fortnight to identify possible regulatory overruns.

These organisations indicated in statements to TAP, that the campaign was "dull and insipid" in continuation of the same pattern of the first-round campaign.

Chahed Observatory Executive Director Naceur Harrabi said that the campaign has been "dull" since the beginning, just like the first round, despite the Independent Higher Authority for the Elections' efforts, recalling in this regard the direct expression sessions on TV and radio. "The field activities were very limited and the attendance of citizens was low," he further said.

ATIDE President Bassam Maatar described the pace of the campaign as "very weak," pointing out that the content of the electoral programmes has generally focused on local projects and has not included projects that are within the competence of an MP.

He pointed out that some constituencies have not even organised proper election campaigns during the run-off.

For his part, Mourakiboun network President Slim Bouzid underlined that most of the candidates' activities have been based on direct contact with citizens and the distribution of leaflets.

He considered that the lack of a competitive spirit among candidates and the ban on public funding under Decree-Law 55 (amending the electoral law) have been behind this "featureless" electoral campaign.

The absence of political parties which fund and handle the logistics, and the boycott of the "major parties" could also explain this "carelessness," he estimated.

Bouzid underlined that no serious overruns have been recorded, saying that "there is no campaign and therefore we have not seen any overruns because of the small number of candidates (262).

Regarding the ISIE's actions during the run-off, he described the authority's work as "poor" despite the multiplication of awareness campaigns through text messages and the organisation of TV and radio debates during the run-off.

He considered that it would have been better if the ISIE had adopted this communication plan in the first round, criticising the exclusion of the civil society.

Naceur Harrabi said that the local election authorities (IRIE) have not communicated all the overruns reported by the authority's 500 observers and that they may involve electoral crimes.

Despite all the reservations expressed, the organisations involved in the electoral process stated that they will continue to observe the remaining stages of this run-off legislative elections.

ATIDE affirmed its intention to deploy 500 observers in addition to the 48 local coordinators and 524 observers of the "Chahed" observatory.

Mourakiboun intends to deploy 255 observers in the 131 constituencies.

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