The local elections scheduled for December 17 will be different at several levels, notably the voting system, the composition of local councils and their link with regional councils in accordance with the provisions of Decree No. 10 dated March 8, 2023 on the organisation of local council elections and the composition of regional and district councils, said Head of the Independent Higher Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Farouk Bouasker. These elections will be different on many levels, including the voting method, composition of the local councils and their relationship with the regional councils, as defined in Decree No.10 of March 8, 2023 on the elections of local councils and the composition of the councils of regions and districts. Speaking at the opening of a training session organised for the benefit of Tunis Afrique Press (TAP) journalists, Bouaskar pointed out that the local elections are the first stage in a long electoral process to put in place the tools of the local government system, to be followed by establishment of regional councils in 24 governorates then district councils, until the establishment of a second parliamentary chamber, namely the national council of regions and districts. //Awareness campaign ahead of the elections// Given the importance of these elections, which will be held in 2155 local constituencies spread over 2085 Imadas, the ISIE decided to create the post of local coordinator and a deputy to represent the authority in the delegations, who will supervise the electoral operation in the relevant Imadas, in addition to increasing the number of electoral campaign monitors. Bouaskar explained that the ISIE is logistically ready to organise these elections without additional polling stations, the number of which has reached 5,000 centres comprising around 11,000 polling stations, adding that the authority had launched an awareness-raising campaign on the specific nature and importance of these elections in order to encourage citizens to take part, and had decided to speed up the pace of this campaign in collaboration with the public media. The ISIE is awaiting the publication of two presidential decrees: The first on calling voters to the polls and the second on the delimitation of electoral constituencies, and on filling the vacancy on the ISIE Council (3 posts), before September 17, to officially announce the start of the local elections, which will be held in 279 delegations to elect 279 local councils. Member of the ISIE Council and judge at the Court of Auditors Mahmoud El Waer pointed out that the budget allocated to the elections is included in the 2023 budget, specifying that the cost of each round is around TND 40 million. //Local elections, the foundation of the electoral process// Bouaskar indicated that Law 87, dated July 26, 1994, provides for the organisation of the work of local councils and their prerogatives, adding that these councils had not previously been elected and had only a consultative role. //New features regarding nominations and composition// Legislative decree no. 10 of 2023 includes a number of new features, notably the voting system, which will be free, comprehensive, direct and secret, with two rounds, as well as positive discrimination for the benefit of people with disabilities. He explained that the regional councils will be made up of members of local councils chosen by lot, adding that the composition of these councils will change every three months, allowing each member to take part in the work of the regional councils with a view to ensuring fair representation of all delegations. ISIE Central Director of Legal Affairs Imad Abdelli said that the new legal text governing local elections included the provision that candidates must not hold a second nationality in addition to their Tunisian nationality, and must not have been the subject of a decision against them by the Court of Auditors relating to financial or electoral violations, or have been subject to provisions relating to public funding. He also indicated that the presidency of the local council will be ensured on an alternating basis through a mechanism of drawing lots every three months, stressing that one of the positive points of this legal text is that the presidency of the regional council will be ensured in turn between the delegations, which means that each Imada has the same chances of leading the local council, and each small delegation has the same chances of leading the regional council.
Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse