Middle East

Tunisia parties agree on election timetable

After months of delays, political parties reach deal to first hold legislative, and then presidential, polls in 2014.

Last updated: 14 Jun 2014 10:09
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Chafik Sarsar, the election agency chief, had said that elections would probably be held this fall [AFP]

Tunisia's political parties have agreed to hold legislative, and then presidential, elections in 2014, a mediator has said, the first agreement on an electoral timetable after months of delays.

The order the elections were to be held in has been the subject of ongoing debate between the parties. 

Ennahda, the Islamist party which dominates the National Constituent Assembly, had wanted the legislative vote first, while their opponents mostly sought the opposite.

Lawyer Mohamed Fadhel Mahfoudh, who mediated the talks, said on Friday that 12 out of 18 bodies represented at the negotiations voted for the legislative vote to be held first.

"The decision was adopted and we are going to submit it to the National Constituent Assembly for it to vote on the law [fixing the election dates]," he told the AFP news agency.

Mahfoudh said the decision had been taken in conjunction with the body responsible for organising the elections.

The exact timetable on the elections is due to be adopted on June 23.

Chafik Sarsar, the election agency chief, told the Reuters news agency last month that elections would probably be held at the end of October or in November.

With its new constitution, and a caretaker administration governing until elections later this year, Tunisia's relatively smooth political progress contrasts with the turmoil in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, which also ousted longstanding leaders three years ago.

Ennahda won the first free election after former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's fall and formed the first government, but the assassination of two secular opposition leaders in 2013 triggered a political crisis.

The decision to hold elections this year was part of a plan agreed by political parties aimed at ending the crisis.


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