Tunisian President Sets Presidential Election Date For October 6

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Tunisian President Kais Saied on Tuesday confirmed October 6 as the date for the presidential election in the country, according to a statement from the president’s office.

It remains uncertain whether Saied will run for a new five-year term following his initial election in 2019.

A statement from Saied’s office announced the summoning of voters for the upcoming presidential election scheduled for Sunday, October 6, 2024.

Saied, an expert in constitutional matters, assumed complete authority over the nation in 2021, governing through decrees after removing the prime minister and parliament, resulting in the imprisonment of many of his adversaries.

He successfully implemented a new constitution through a referendum in 2022, establishing a presidential system alongside a parliament with restricted powers.

The political turmoil triggered by his power consolidation has had a significant impact on Tunisia’s economy, with a 15 per cent unemployment rate and approximately four million citizens out of the country’s 12 million population living in poverty.

A crackdown on media has also led to the prosecution of over 60 journalists, lawyers, and political opponents, as reported by the National Union of Tunisian Journalists.

In a surprising move in May, Saied replaced the interior and social affairs ministers following a series of arrests targeting human rights activists, lawyers, and journalists.

Efforts to secure a $2 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund have been at a standstill since the power seizure in 2021, as Saied has refused to implement the reforms requested by the organization.

However, in June, the European Investment Bank unveiled grants and loans totalling 450 million euros ($480 million) to support infrastructure projects and small to medium-sized enterprises.

The crisis has prompted thousands of Tunisians to embark on dangerous boat journeys across the Mediterranean in search of better opportunities in Europe.