Welcome to Scribd, the world's digital library. Read, publish, and share books and documents. See more
Download
Standard view
Full view
of .
Look up keyword
Like this
1Activity
0 of .
Results for:
No results containing your search query
P. 1
IFES Tunisia Briefing Paper Jan2011s

IFES Tunisia Briefing Paper Jan2011s

Ratings: (0)|Views: 13 |Likes:
Published by Wissem Rekaya

More info:

Published by: Wissem Rekaya on May 16, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

Availability:

Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less

05/16/2011

pdf

text

original

 
IFES Briefing Paper | January 2011
Elections in Tunisia:Key challenges for credible andcompetitive elections
Tunisia: Briefing Paper No. 1
 
International Foundation for Electoral Systems
1850 K Street, NW | Fifth Floor | Washington, DC 20006 | www.IFES.org
January 25, 2011
Background
 
Elections in Tunisia: Key challenges for credible and competitive electionsPage 1 of 12
Despite the challenges it faces in finding a cohesive consensus, the newly appointed Tunisian government hasacknowledged it must address important transitional issues for democratic reform. Politically and constitutionally,one of its primary tasks will be to prepare for elections to determine the choice of a new president. There havealso been calls that parliamentary elections, scheduled for 2014, should be sooner.
1
Introduction
While there has been a wealthof analysis in recent weeks on the political and democratic implications of the January events in Tunisia, there hasbeen little focus on the key issues that may emerge in relation to the conduct of these next elections. This IFESbriefing paper provides a preliminary overview of those issues.Previous elections, including the 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections, were held in a repressiveenvironment and under a legal framework that was “tailor-made”
2
In their calls for elections to be credible and competitive, the U.S. Government and European institutions haveindicated that the international community’s willingness to support elections. It is unclear, however, the extent towhich Tunisian authorities and stakeholders are willing to accept international engagement in the electoralprocess. Several political leaders have called for international observation of the elections.by the then-ruling party to ensure its politicaldominance had a veneer of electoral legitimacy, ensuring participation of a number of tolerated ‘opposition’parties and candidates. Despite the changes brought about by recent events, persons opposed to the previousregime may question the credibility of any election held under the current flawed framework or run by personsassociated to the previous regime. Unless Tunisian authorities make an effort to show political will for improvedopportunities for credible elections, the elections are likely to fail to meet public expectations and stakeholderdemands of democratic change in Tunisia. Moreover, such circumstances may lead to boycotts and, possibly,election-related violence.This briefing paper provides a preliminary assessment
3
 of the electoral framework in Tunisia and, in particular,identifies potentially problematic areas. However, IFES recognizes that credible elections can take place incountries that have flawed electoral frameworks if there is political will and public support for elections tosucceed. The interim government’s announcement of the lifting of restrictions on civil and political rights areimportant steps in demonstrating political will to improve the democratic environment in Tunisia; although manyactivists are calling for more meaningful changes to be made, including replacement of all links to the previousregime. With this in mind, the briefing paper also seeks to identify other possible areas where Tunisian authoritiescould take steps to improve the electoral framework.
1
Tunisia has a bicameral parliament. Its lower house (the Chamber of Deputies / Majlis Al-Nuwab) is directly elected and has legislative powers.The upper house (the Chamber of Advisors / Majlis al-Mustasharin) is part-indirectly elected by municipal councilors and part-appointed by thePresident. In this briefing paper, the term ‘parliamentary election’ will apply only to elections to the Chamber of Deputies.
2
Human Rights Watch, Tunisia: Elections in an Atmosphere of Repression, October 23, 2009,http://www.hrw.org/en/news/2009/10/23/tunisia-elections-atmosphere-repression 
3
The assessment is based on versions of the Constitution, Electoral Code and other laws that are available in Arabic, English and French on theofficial Tunisian 2009 elections website www.elections2009.tn which may not be official versions of the texts. Attempts are being made to obtain (and, if necessary, translate) official versions of key legal and procedural texts from the Tunisian authorities.
 
IFESPage 2 of 12
 
Election Timetable
In 2009, Tunisian presidential and parliamentary elections were held concurrently on 25 October 2009. Indirectelections to the Chamber of Advisors took place in August 2008.
(i) Presidential election
Article 57 of the Constitution requires that, in the case of a vacancy in the presidency, presidential elections shouldbe held within 45 to 60 days of the appointment of an interim president. This means elections should be held by 16March 2011. However, the new government has indicated it agreed to increase the timeframe to six months (i.e.by end of June 2011). A delay of this nature allows for the political and security situation to stabilize and forpolitical groups to prepare their campaigns. In addition, since the bodies responsible for running elections – theMinistry of Interior and local governors – have been at the forefront of public attacks during the recent events, it ispossible that additional time is needed to increase the technical capacity of the aforementioned bodies to preparefor the elections.
4
The six-month timeframe envisaged by Tunisian stakeholders would not provide for the “systematic overhaul of the country's electoral laws and practices” that some actors are calling for. 
5
Once elected, the President will serve a five-year term of office.Although it is very likely that, in themedium- to long-term, considerable efforts will be needed to bring the Tunisian framework for elections into linewith international standards.
Options for delaying presidential elections
It is unclear how Tunisian authorities will establish grounds for an extra-constitutional delay in holding presidentialelections when there is a vacancy in the presidency. Article 57 of the Constitution places a number of restrictionson the interim president’s powers that appear to prevent him from taking such measures. However, there doesappear to be a possible route under Article 39(2), which provides: “In the event it is impossible to organizeelections on a timely basis, due to war or imminent peril, the President’s term of office may be extended by a lawadopted by the Chamber of Deputies, until such time when elections can be organized.” Thus, it is possible thatpresidential elections could be delayed if there is a parliamentary vote to do so. Alternatively, in circumstanceswith broad consensus by all parties, an extra-constitutional delay may be considered politically acceptable andwould not be challenged in court.
(ii) Parliamentary elections
Members of the Chamber of Deputies serve a five-year term; the next elections for this Chamber are due byOctober 2014. Members of the Chamber of Advisers serve a six-year term. Due to its system of rotationalmembership, some members of the Chamber of Advisers would be due for re-election in August 2011, whileothers face election in August 2014.
4
The Electoral Code envisages that elections should usually be called no later three months before the end of an elected body’s mandate toallow for preparations to be made.
5
Tunisia's future hangs on electoral reform” (Meyer-Resende, O’Grady), The Guardian, January 22, 2009,http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/22/tunisia-electoral-reform-elections-democracy 

You're Reading a Free Preview

Download
scribd
/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->