Tunisia to hold parliamentary, presidential elections within 18 months

February 5, 2012

Monastir, Tunisia

Tunisia will hold fresh parliamentary elections within 18 months, the prime minister has said.

“There is a determination within the interim authorities to hold transparent and democratic elections within 18 months,” Hamadi Jebali said.

An independent committee will oversee the elections, in a repeat of the successful experience on 2011 when the Independent High Election Committee [ISIE by its French initials] oversaw the organisation of the first true multiparty elections of a constituent assembly to draft a new constitution and prepare for new elections.

The national polls, on October 23, were dominated by Al Nahda, the moderate Islamist party whose secretary general is now head of the Tunisian government.
The ISIE, chaired by Kamal Jendoubi, was praised for its high standards despite the short time and the difficult conditions in which it had to work, including the absence of a credible database of eligible voters.

The constituent assembly held its first session on November 22 amid expectations that it will engage promptly in drafting the constitution and announcing a road map for its dissolution and holding new elections.

However, the assembly and the government have come under pressure from the opposition for failing to set a deadline for their interim mandate and a date for the next polls.

Last month, former prime minister Beji Caid Essebsi warned that the lack of clarity about the role of the constituent assembly could be a threat to Tunisia’s stability, security, economy and society.

In a public letter, he said that the assembly was elected to draft a constitution and prepare for the election of permanent institutions for the country.
“However, we have noted that a lot of time was wasted in defining temporary roles for the public authorities, and this clashes with the purpose of the transitional phase,” he wrote.

With the announcement by Jebali that elections would be within 18 months, the government is expected to explain the arrangements for the formation of the independent authority that will oversee them.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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