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Tunisia’s President, Saied insists on electoral reforms, imposes guidelines on parliamentary elections

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President Kais Saied of Tunisia has continued his clamp down and control on government institutions and organs as he has announced on Wednesday that voting in parliamentary elections that are expected to be held in December will take place in two rounds.

The president further revealed that people will vote for individuals rather than lists as in previous elections which is a confirmation that he is moving forward with political changes, although they have not been agreed upon yet with other key players.

Members of the Tunisia parliament defied President Saied order and held their first full session since last summer when he suspended the chamber and moved to one-man rule. Saied in reaction reaffirmed the suspension of the parliament.

It should be recalled that President Saied suspended parliament, and seized a string of powers in July 2021. In December of the same year, he announced in a speech on national television a three-month “popular consultation” with the Tunisian people after which “draft constitutional and other reforms will be put forward to a referendum on July 25.”

Opposition parties in Tunisia announced last week that they would boycott any elections and referendum Saied calls to restructure the political system unilaterally.

Abir Moussi, who is one of the leaders of an opposition party, The Free Constitutional Party, the party ahead in opinion polls, said that according to the constitution Saied should call elections within three months, not in December.

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Chad’s PM resigns following disputed election of Deby

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Succes Masra, the opposition leader and prime minister of Chad, announced on Wednesday that he had tendered his resignation following the confirmation of Mahamat Idriss Deby as the winner of the May 6 presidential election.

In an attempt to appease the opposition, Masra, a vigorous opponent of the junta that took control in April 2021, was named prime minister of the transitional government in January, four months before the election.

His candidacy was approved in March to hold the presidential election and restore constitutional order to the nation. The oil-producing nation is the first in a line of coup-hit Sahelian republics in West and Central Africa to try a similar comeback.

Masra declared victory before formally releasing the preliminary results, claiming that election fraud was organized. With 61% of the vote, Deby was declared the winner by Chad’s state election board, and the constitutional council subsequently affirmed his victory.

Masra has accepted the council’s decision and stated that there was no alternative way to challenge the outcomes legally.

“In accordance with the constitution, I have today presented… my resignation and that of the transitional government, which has become irrelevant with the end of the presidential
election of May 6,” Masra said on X on Wednesday.

The family has maintained a tight hold on power since Deby’s father overthrew the government in a coup in the early 1990s, and Deby’s triumph strengthens their hold on power.

Deby, the acting president of Chad, was declared the winner of the May 6 presidential election by the state electoral commission two weeks ago. Provisional results show that Deby received almost 61% of the vote. This statement was issued even though the front-runner of the opposition declared himself the winner.

Chad is the first coup-affected nation in West and Central Africa to have successfully returned to constitutional rule through democratic elections, replacing its previous military regime. On the other hand, certain opposition parties have voiced their displeasure over concerns about electoral meddling.

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Kenya’s Ruto to discuss debt relief with Biden this week

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This week, Kenyan President, William Ruto will be hosted by US President, Joe Biden, for extensive negotiations that are anticipated to cover a range of topics, including Kenya’s debt relief as well as the future of Haiti, Ukraine, Sudan, and other regions.

Kenya has been facing severe cash shortages, and a senior administration official quoted by Reuter said that the US is pressuring major creditors like China, which is Kenya’s largest creditor, to provide debtor nations with assistance.

“We think it’s essential that responsible debtors provide reprieves for countries like Kenya, whether that’s by debt service suspensions or via new grant assistance,” the official said.

Additionally, Washington is pressuring global financial institutions to provide Kenya and other nations with affordable funding. During the state visit this week, the official indicated to anticipate some major joint pronouncements about debt relief “on how countries like Kenya can tackle this problem of debt.”

Washington hopes to counter China’s growing influence in Africa, which is one of the reasons it scheduled the high-profile visit by the Kenyan leader.

By collecting debt service payments and limiting follow-on loans, US Treasury Undersecretary Jay Shambaugh warned China and other nations that made large loans to low-income countries last month against free-riding.

The remarks demonstrated the mounting annoyance of debtor countries and Western countries with Beijing’s procrastination about debt restructuring and the glacial pace of debt relief negotiations.

The executive director of Jubilee USA Network, an ecumenical coalition of advocacy, development, and religious organizations, Eric LeCompte, predicted that the Ruto visit would have a significant impact on American policy on Africa.

“When Ruto speaks, he’s speaking for Africa. And given that President Biden hasn’t had the chance to visit Africa yet, this meeting is not only about Kenya, it’s really about sub-Saharan Africa as a whole,” LeCompte said.

 

During a meeting Ruto called last month, African leaders urged that affluent countries make record commitments to the World Bank’s International Growth Association, a low-interest facility that developing countries rely on to help finance economic growth and combat climate change.

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