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Tunisia Ruling Coalition Denies Rumors of Postponing Presidential, Parliamentary Polls

Tunisia Ruling Coalition Denies Rumors of Postponing Presidential, Parliamentary Polls

Thursday, 27 June, 2019 - 07:30
Voters queue at a polling station during the municipal elections in Tunis, Tunisia. (Reuters)
Tunis - Mongi Saidani

A number of Tunisia’s political parties of the ruling coalition denied their participation in consultations to postpone the presidential and parliamentary elections scheduled to take place in about three months.

Leaders of Ennahda Movement, Tahya Tounes, and Nidaa Tounes confirmed their rejection of any postponement of the parliamentary polls set for October and the presidential elections scheduled for November.

The Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) also categorically rejected any delay in the polls after its president, Nabil Baffoun, confirmed that no official request had been received. He pointed out that the commission continues to prepare for the elections and respects the term of the Tunisian Parliament and the Presidency, as stipulated by the Tunisian Constitution.

Head of the central committee of Nidaa Tounes – Monastir, Hafedh Caid Essebsi told a press conference that postponing the elections “is not possible at all”. He stressed that Nidaa Tounes is committed to the calendar set by ISIE and will provide candidates for parliamentary elections in all constituencies, as was the case during municipal elections on May 6, 2018.

For its part, Ennahda movement rejected any proposal to push the vote back and confirmed its full commitment to the dates announced by the Authority.

Ruling coalition parties believe that the President is the only one entitled to take such a decision, given that he's the only person with the power to sign the decree to invite voters to the ballots.

Constitutionally, the President can only call for an election postponement if there was an imminent danger threatening the country, which is not the case this time.

However, most of the opposition parties confirmed that there are secret agreements between Head of Ennahda Rashid al-Ghannouchi, head of Tahya Tounes Youssef Chahed, and honorary president of Nidaa Tounes Beji Caid Essebsi.

On the other hand, ISIE member Adel al-Barinasi told Asharq Al-Awsat that the Authority issued a new decision on the conditions for running in the elections after the parliament approved an amendment to the electoral law.

He stressed that the Authority can only practically and legally approve any amendment to the qualifications of candidatures after the Provisional Constitutional Review Authority (IPCCPL) announces its decision on the appeal against the amendment.

IPCCPL will resolve this appeal by July 20, and only then ISIE will have the right to issue new conditions for candidacy or maintain the same standards.

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