IFES Briefing Paper February 2011Page 2 of 6
All stakeholders recognize the constitutional timetable for conducting a presidential election within 60days of the appointment of an interim president is unrealistic given the current circumstances andshould not be adhered to. There is broad consensus that the government’s indications that electionsshould be scheduled within six months (i.e. by July 2011) is justified and that time is needed for thepreparation of a new and reformed political, legal and administrative framework. However, there hasyet to be an official decision on a likely election date; to do so will establish the first formal divergencefrom the current Constitution. When the decision is made, authorities will likely claim that
applies in the case of any challenge to the constitutionality of the postponement.
Nevertheless, there does appear to be the beginnings of frustration that the electoral sequence of thetransitional process remains uncertain, especially in relation to questions over the sequencing of parliamentary elections, as well as elections for a possible Constituent Assembly to prepare a newConstitution and a referendum on whether to adopt the new Constitution. There is also recognition thatthe process of preparing a new election law must be done in a consultative and inclusive manner,meaning the process should not be rushed. The impracticality of holding elections during the summertourist season and the holy month of Ramadan in August has caused some speculation that presidentialelection may have to be scheduled for October 2011 with parliamentary elections held concurrently.Stakeholders have encouraged authorities to ensure transparency when explaining any delay to holdingelections.
Legal Framework for Elections
The HCPR has assumed responsibilities for the “elaboration of texts organizing the elections and theamendment of the electoral code to […] guarantee the organization of free and credible election, inaccordance with the objectives of the people's revolution including freedom, equality, democracy andthe rule of law.”
The HCPR President has indicated that the new electoral legislation will be submitted to the TransitionalGovernment and will be adopted by a Governmental or Presidential decreeThe HCPR has indicated that its members will seek to prepare a draft law within sixweeks and, at the same time, undertake open consultations with stakeholders on the issues to beaddressed by a new law followed by public consultation of the new draft text.
and will not seek to engagethe current Parliament, which he described as “an authority that has neither credibility nor legitimacy.”
Article 39(2), which provides: “In the event it is impossible to organize elections on a timely basis, due to war or imminentperil, the President’s term of office may be extended by a law adopted by the Chamber of Deputies, until such time whenelections can be organized.”
It is not clear if the Transitional Government considers itself bound to adopt any draft prepared by HCPRor whether it considers itself to have the authority to amend the draft it receives.
This mechanism is provided for under Constitution Article 28 “for a set period and for a specific purpose”; the decrees issuedunder Article 28 require eventual ratification by parliament.