The new Tunisian parliament, which was elected in December and January in a vote with a very low turnout of only 11 percent, opened on Monday, March 13, 2023, its first session, while the main opposition coalition said that it would not recognize its legitimacy, describing it as “the fruit of the coup constitution.”
President Qais Saeed dissolved the formerly elected parliament in July 2021, moving to rule by decree in a move the opposition parties described as a coup.
But Saied said his actions were legal and necessary to save Tunisia from years of corruption by a political elite that only serves its interests. The new parliament, which operates under a constitution that Saied himself drafted last year and approved in a referendum with a turnout of about 30 percent, will have limited power compared to the previous parliament he dissolved.
Most parties boycotted the elections, and candidates were included in individual lists without indicating party affiliation. Most of the new members of Parliament are independent politicians.
The National Salvation Front, a main opposition coalition that includes the Islamist Ennahda movement and activists including Citizens Against the Coup, said it would not recognize a parliament resulting from a coup and elections boycotted by the majority.
Journalists were not allowed to attend the opening session of the new parliament, which is the first time since the 2011 revolution. Organizers said that only state television, radio and the official news agency are allowed to cover the event.