Tunisia: 2019 Legislative Elections - No Serious Violations Were Found Says Eisa

Tunis/Tunisia — "The Election Observation Mission (EOM) of the Electoral Institute for Sustainable Democracy in Africa (EISA) has not found any serious violations during the legislative elections held on October 6, 2019," said , Tuesday, head of the mission and former President of the Mauritius Republic Cassam Uteem.

During a press conference held in Tunis on the mission's announcement of the preliminary statement, Uteem said that EOM EISA, made up of 19 observers in the short run and 4 observers in the long run, had covered the governorates of El Kef, Gabes, Jendouba, Kairouan, Kasserine, Sfax, Sidi Bouzid, Sousse, Tataouine, Tunis and Sfax during the recent days of the electoral campaign and 137 polling stations distributed in a number of governorates on the election day.

Uteem said that elections were held "in a peaceful and serenity although the turnout was lower than the turnouts in 2011 and 2014, namely among youth and women"

"The mission took notice of the general atmosphere lacking enthusiasm during the first opening hours of the polling stations. Unlike youths', participation of the elderly was much higher. "

He added "that the mission also noted of the lack of horizontal parity which reduced chances of women's candidates"

Among its recommendations to improve the conduct of future electoral processes, including the second round of the 2019 early presidential election scheduled for 13 October, the EISA EOM calls on the authorities to reconsider the situation of the candidate in the second round of the presidential election, Nabil Karoui, who has not been tried and convicted, so that he can conduct his electoral campaign in the same way as his competitor Kais Saied.

Besides, the mission also called on the House of People's Representatives (HPR) to introduce horizontal parity concerning the lists of women's candidates so as to increase the number of women MPs and ensure gender parity as stated in the Tunisian Constitution.

EOM EISA recommends ISIE to establish a permanent framework that boosts consultations among stakeholders so as to achieve better communication, setting measures determining electoral officers in polling stations, soaking voters' index in indelible ink only after voting so as to avoid the degradation of the ballot paper as well as consolidating civic education and election culture in collaboration with civil society organizations.

EOM EISA also recommends ISIE to display the lists of the electorate in front of each polling station, consolidate the training of finance supervisors of electoral campaigns so as to ensure equal chances between candidates, provide all representatives with candidates and lists present during vote counting and a copy of the minutes' results.

Uteem also called for reviewing the measures limiting the number of observers in a number of polling stations and consolidating the procedure of vote counting by the verification of the ballot papers issued, unused and void with the vote received at the beginning of the day as well as the number of signatures.

The preliminary declaration of the EOM EISA focuses on pre-election observations, particularly those made during the voting day until vote counting in polling stations and does not cover the phases of compilation, transmission and publication of results.

A more detailed report shedding light on conclusions and recommendations will published soon. It will be shared with Tunisian authorities, ISIE and other stakeholders in the election process.

The mission is made up of officials from election management bodies, member organistions of the civil society and independent experts from 15 African countries.

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