Middle East round-up: Only one in 10 vote in Tunisian elections | News

Fears for democracy when almost no one turned up for elections in Tunisia, the World Cup left the building, and protests in Jordan turned deadly. This is your compilation, written by Abubakr Al-Shamahi, Middle East and North Africa editor of Al Jazeera Digital.

Over the past decade, Tunisians have repeatedly gathered at polling stations, queuing for hours to exercise their hard-won right to vote, in one of the region’s few truly democratic systems. . They fought bravely for that right, only to gain it after ousting their longtime leader, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, in 2011.

On Saturday, they were outwardly vote again, this time in parliamentary elections. But the reality is Almost no one showed up, with a published voter turnout of 11.2% embarrassingly low. The reason seems to be that a lot of Tunisians have already had enough President Kais Saiedand his decisions to govern by decree while cutting congressional powers over the past 18 months.

Saied came to power in 2019, following the anger of the people during the economic crisis. But in July 2021, he unilaterally fired the government and suspended the opposition-controlled parliament before holding a referendum (30% result) to give the majority of parliament’s power. into his hand. None of that has improved the economy. If anything, it gets worse, with food shortages being the norm. Present, Saied doesn’t seem to care. So is Tunisia’s democracy dead? Or is it just waiting time?

World Cup no longer lasts

It’s over. It really ends. A glorious month of everyday football is often topped with The greatest final in World Cup history (there, I said it, there’s no need to claim it), with Lionel Messi finally getting his well-deserved World Cup medal against Argentina on his fifth and final try. But now, Doha feels emptydo not have Argentinian fans sing their Muchachos song every five minutes on random street corners.

Messi’s victory is undoubtedly the biggest headline taken from the tournament, but there’s also a lot more: the first Arab World Cup, the rise of teams from Africa and Asia, the political controversies and human rights issues. You can read more about my thoughts in this section. And I really recommend this podcast, from The Take, which aggregates match reactions from various journalists who have covered the World Cup. There I was, and as you can see from my comments, I am still bitter about England losing.

And then, of course, there was what I now call Bisht-gate: The backlash against the emir of Qatar, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, giving Messi a traditional Arab robe, called bisht, in the trophy ceremony. That moment will surely be one of the unforgettable memories of this tournament. It was. Intended to be an honor, it was immediately met with skepticism from some of the more skeptical members of the media, who ended up trying to paint too much of the tournament in a negative light – at times. justifiable, usually not. In this case, a lot of that criticism went beyond the mere question of whether it was the right time for Messi to be given a bisht, and instead directed it squarely at contempt. Arabic culture. Unfortunately, it’s entirely predictable.

Petrol protests in Jordan go awry

While Jordan is considered an island of stability in the Middle East, economic problems there often lead to massive protests every few years.

Last week, protests against high fuel prices, due to subsidy limits imposed by the IMF, spread across towns and cities in Jordan, especially outside the capital Amman. They became deadly in Maan, where a police officer was killed on December 15. That led to a raid and gunfight on December 19, when police attempted to apprehend the murder suspects. three policemen killedas well as one of the suspects.

[READ: Jordan’s truckers struggle to get by, sparking protests and violence]

And now for something different

‘This is the season to visit Bethlehem. Tourist numbers are finally picking up again in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, with people, especially Christians, choosing to visit during the Christmas holiday season. The Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank is considered the birthplace of Jesus, and as the photos in this gallery showVenues like the Church of the Nativity were packed again – hopefully spreading some much-needed peace and goodwill to all.

People take pictures of the Christmas tree
People take pictures of the Christmas tree and nativity scene outside the Nativity Church. [Mahmoud Illean/AP Photo]


Palestinian prisoner with cancer dies in Israeli custody – Israel’s Netanyahu says deal agreed with far right form a government, but What role will religious nationalists play? – Iran’s IRGC says four members of the security forces were killed in the attack near the Pakistani border – Sweden’s supreme court block extradition of Turkish journalistsPalestinian Americans Arrested by Israel for Trying to Enter Jerusalememphasizes Israeli-imposed double standards on Palestinian Americans – Qatar says Belgium investigates corruption in the European Parliament based on “inaccurate” information – At least eight people were killed in the explosion near Kirkuk of Iraq – Two Palestinian brothers killed after being run over by Jewish settlers – Iran arrests actress Taraneh Alidoosti for expressing solidarity with the executed man – Erdogan said the mayor of Istanbul and his presidential rival, Ekrem Imamoglu, can still appeal a guilty verdict, prison sentence for “insulting officials” – IMF approves 3 billion USD package for Egypt – France normalizes consular relations with Morocco after last year’s visa cuts – Libyan PM admits role in transferring Lockerbie bombing suspect to US

Palestinian position on Ukraine

For many Palestinians living under Israeli occupation, the parallels between Ukraine’s experience and the Russian invasion are clear. But according to Adnan Abu Amer, dean of the political science department at Ummah University in Gaza, the Ukrainian government and its Western allies have not seen the connection. To replace, Abu Amer argues, nothing but unconditional support for Kiev while pretending that “there is no equivalent to the Palestinian situation”.

Quote of the week

“The death of this and the death of that… Imagine your children growing up in a culture that celebrates death. What kind of future will we have? What kind of generation are we creating?” – “Najat”, quoted in a powerful essay on journalist Afrah Nasser’s return to Yemen after 11 years in exile. After so much war and the Houthi takeover of Sanaa, the house she left no longer exists.

An empty street with a face on a poster
Posters of Houthi fighters who died in the fighting have become popular throughout Sanaa [Afrah Nasser/Al Jazeera]

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