Preps begin in Tunisia for legislative and presidential elections

The Independent High Authority for Elections in Tunisia has announced that it has started to prepare for the legislative and presidential elections due to be held next year. A detailed schedule and operational plan has been drafted, Quds Press has reported.

The details were provided in a written statement issued on Sunday by Nabil Bafoun, a member of the election authority. He explained that such preparations are essential and are likely to be ready by October. The authority’s draft budget for the following year will then be determined.

The announcement regarding the upcoming elections was made amidst continued tension between the major political forces in Tunisia, and against the backdrop of different positions towards the government of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.

While well-informed political sources in Tunisia rule out the possibility of overthrowing the government, despite the insistence by influential figures in Nidaa Tounes and the Tunisian General Labour Union that a change of government is necessary. They are also talking about the frequent government reshuffles by Chahed ahead of the elections.

With the municipal elections held in May showing progress for Ennahda Movement candidates, observers say that this reveals a lot about the expected results of the legislative and presidential elections. This must be seen in the light of the conflict within Nidaa Tounes. A leading source in Ennahda, however, has said that the movement will not field a presidential candidate, but no hint was given about whether or not it will support one of the other candidates.

Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for Elections is responsible for the organisation of elections in the country. It was formed on 18 April 2011 a few months after the outbreak of the Tunisian revolution that overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his regime. The authority replaced the Ministry of the Interior in this role, which had supervised elections from 1956. – Memo