Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on October 6 with a presidential vote following on Nov. 17. They will be the third set of polls in which Tunisians can vote freely following the 2011 revolution.
An official with the International Organization for Migration in Tunisia said the smuggling boat was coming from Libya when it sent a distress signal in international waters early Friday off the Tunisian coastal city of Sfax.
Protests erupted last Monday in several towns and cities across Tunisia following tax and price hikes imposed on Jan. 1 by a government seeking to reduce a budget deficit to meet an agreement with its international donors.
Last month a dozen people including businessmen, suspected smugglers and even a former security official were arrested, in a country where nepotism and corruption are seen as a powerful brake on the road to economic recovery.