So. In "an atmosphere of repression" (© Human Rights Watch) president Ben Ali won the Tunisian election with 89.62% of the votes. That's a drop of almost five per cent on the 1994 result and 10 per cent less than in 1999 when he got a truly incredible 99.66%. If his support continues to decline at this rate, he could lose in the 2049 election (by which time he'll be 113)..
Election observer Saïda Benhabyles, a former Algerian minister,
told Magharebia that the poll complied with all the standards of a fair election.
This may be true of the way voting was conducted in polling stations, but the regime's constant harassment of its critics, its
interference with the opposition parties, its arbitrary rejection of candidates and its manipulation of the media meant there could only ever be one result.
Voters were allowed little information about Ben Ali's opponents: a group of NGOs complained about the disproportional media coverage of Ben Ali and his party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally. In the seven daily newspapers Ben Ali's presidential campaign "received 97.23% of the coverage space", they said.
In the parliamentary election held simultaneously with the presidential election, the ruling party won 161 out of 214 seats (just over 75%). Its nearest rival, the Movement of Socialist Democrats, won just 16 seats.
Wikipedia has the detailed results.
Posted by Brian Whitaker, 27 October 2009.