Tunisian vote chief seeks election delay

Head of election board wants poll moved to October, saying there is not enough time for "transparent election" in July.

     The election will be the first since the ousting of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former Tunisian president, in January [EPA]

    The president of Tunisia's independent election committee has proposed postponing the country's upcoming election to October 16 from July 24, citing operational reasons.

    Speaking at a news conference in Tunis, the capital, on Sunday, Kamel Jandoubi said it would be impossible to have elections on the expected date in July.

    "The time would not be enough to prepare all that is necessary for transparent elections. Personally, I propose the date of October 16," he said.

    Ali Larayad, a spokesman for Ennhada, the main opposition and Tunisia's only Islamic party, said: "In my opinion, I am not convinced that an election day three months later than expected is in the interests of the country and its political stability or security. I am afraid this decision is political, not operational."

    The timetable for the election, the first since the ousting of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former Tunisian president, in January, has been contentious, with smaller, less mobilised parties expressing misgivings over an early date.

    But street protests in the capital have put pressure on authorities to hold elections in two months' time even if this could risk more instability in the long run.

    Hamma Hammami, president of the Communist POCT party, said: "Since the beginning, we have been demanding an election date in October. Today we find the proposal of October 16 very logical.

    "This date gives political parties the opportunity to present their programmes and gives the Tunisian people the opportunity to get to know the different opposition parties."

    The new election date recommendation would usually need the approval of the intermim government to be formally adopted.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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