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Tunisian President enacts new electoral laws that reduces parties’ powers ahead of elections

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Tunisian President Kais Saied has further trimmed the powers and influence of political parties in the country after he made new changes to electoral law three months ahead of legislative elections on December 17.

The new electoral law, which was published on Friday, according to
opposition groups, is the latest step in a sweeping power grab by Saied whom they have accused of carrying out a coup against democracy and turning the country into a one-man rule.

His critics have also accused him of “authoritarian drift and endangering the democratic process” initiated after the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011 which brought down longtime autocrat, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The new electoral law effectively reduces the number of members of the Lower House of Parliament from 217 to 161, and mandates that candidates will now be elected directly instead of via party lists.

Before enacting the new law, Saied had said at a cabinet meeting on Thursday:

“In the past, the parliament deputy drew his legitimacy from his party. Today, he must assume his responsibilities, above all, before his constituents.”

According to the new rules, parliament members “who do not fulfill their roles” can be removed if 10% of constituents who voted for them lodge a formal request with parliament.

While opposition figures have to criticise the law and warned that it threatens the country’s democratic gains, Saied has insisted that he had no intention of excluding any party from the parliamentary elections.

He argued that the new electoral law was based on a study of systems in other countries, and “will allow the people to freely express their will and to vote for the person of their choice.”

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Lesotho to hold parliamentary election as political instability rages

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Southern African nation, Lesotho will hold its parliamentary elections on Friday despite political instability rocking the country following the inability of politicians to pass constitutional reforms meant to end years of conflicts.

The ruling All Basotho Convention (ABC) which has been in power in the country since 2017, has continued to battle with internal divisions within the party which led to the appointment of two prime ministers in five years.

One of the prime ministers, Thomas Thabane, stepped down in 2020 after he was charged with the murder of his ex-wife.

His successor, Moeketsi Majoro, declared a state of emergency in August this year after legislators failed to pass two bills meant to end political volatility in parliament.

But in September, Lesotho’s highest court ruled the declaration unconstitutional.

The proposed constitutional reforms would have amended everything from the role of political parties, to rules over floor-crossing in parliament, the appointment of senior officials and the role of the prime minister.

The aim of the proposed reforms, according to the Prime Minister, was to make Lesotho less prone to political logjams when disagreements occur but the lawmakers had failed to agree on them.

The general elections scheduled to be held in on October 7, will see the election of120 members of the National Assembly and the Lower House of Assembly.

According to the guidelines for the elections, the 120 members of the National Assembly will be elected using the mixed-member proportional representation system, with voters casting two votes.

Eighty members are elected from single-member constituencies by first-past-the-post voting, with the remaining 40 elected from a single nationwide constituency as leveling seats, which are allocated to make seat totals reflect the national vote share.

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President Tshisekedi of Congo DR appoints new military chiefs amidst growing unrest

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The presidency in the Democratic Republic of Congo has replaced the head of the armed forces as part of broader military reforms aimed at boosting efficiency.

President Felix Tshisekedi appointed Christian Tshiwewe Songhesha, former commander of the Republican Guard, an elite unit in charge of protecting the head of state.

Songhesha replaces Célestin Mbala Musense as the army chief of staff, the government said in a statement late on Monday.

The president’s deputy director of communications, Giscard Kusema, told journalists that the wave of appointments is part of a broader framework of military reform.

He further revealed that “almost the entire staff has been replaced by young officers. Several are from the Republican Guard, but not all, and that’s because they have proven themselves.”

“For years, all the experts have been asking for a military programming law that gives more financial autonomy to the army and flexibility in procedures,” Kusema added.

Congo is one of the troubled zones of East Africa. between 1998 and 2003, government forces supported by Angola, Namibia, and Zimbabwe fought rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda in what is known as the Second Congo War.

Unfortunately, the wave of unrest does not seem to be over as the country remains a territory for terror acts with multiple attacks lately.

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