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Political parties suggest putting off municipal elections until March 2018

Published the:  14/03/2017

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The Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) held a consultative meeting on Tuesday in Gammarth on the draft municipal election calendar in the presence of political parties.

Representatives of Al-Shaab Movement, Al-Jomhouri, Free Patriotic Union, Ettakatol, Al-Mahaba Current, Workers' Party and Machrou Tounes proposed organising the municipal elections in March 2018 and ensuring that they coincide with the Independence Day.

They considered the adoption of the local authority code by the parliament and the dissolution of special delegations before that date difficult.

As for Nidaa Tounes, Ennahdha, Afek Tounes, Al-Irada and the Farmers’ Voice parties, they suggested organising the elections in December 2017 during the school and university holidays to allow students and teaching staff to participate in the elections.

In this context, they stressed the need to extend the deadlines for registration in the electoral register, nomination and electoral campaign.

The electoral calendar proposed by ISIE foresees the launch of registration operations on the electoral register on June 12.

Candidatures for municipal councils (365 seats) will be opened on 30 August and the electoral campaign will start on 4 November, while the ballot is proposed for November 26.

Vote for security and military officers will take place in a single day between November 19 and 23, according to the schedule drawn up by the electoral panel.

In response, ISIE President Chafik Sarsar said it was time to set the date for the municipal elections.

He called for not making the choice of the date of the elections depends on the adoption of the Local Government Code.

The President of ISIE further stated that the election body will take all proposals into account at its meeting, which will be held shortly.

For his part, Riadh Mouakhar, Minister of Local Affairs and Environment, said that the Cabinet meeting will examine in the days to come the draft law on the local government code (more than 400 articles) by focusing on the three points of divergence.

The minister said the organisation of the next municipal elections does not depend on the adoption of this bill. However, it was preferable that it be approved before these deadlines.

For the Minister of Human Rights and relations with the constitutional bodies and civil society Mehdi Ben Gharbia, the decision to delay the municipalities will have repercussions on the dates of the next legislative and presidential elections.

He said the national unity government is willing to provide the necessary support to ISIE.