Tunisia – Split responses to the amendment of the electoral law


On Tuesday the 18th of June the Assembly of the Representatives of the People collectively approved new amendments. The new law was passed with 128 votes, 30 rejections and 14 abstentions. Under the new amendments, potential candidates who resort to political advertising and charitable associations are barred from running to the presidency. The approved amendments sparked heated debates and divided opinions among the national and international arena.

The newly passed law excluded owner of Nesma TV and businessman Nabil Karoui from running for president. Previously, In April, authorities raided Nesma television station and seized all its equipment. The channel was accused of breaching broadcasting rules.The amendments also extended to banning 3ich Tounsi. Created in April, the company began over–phone survey in order to  estimate the influence of their services on the Tunisian public through a poll.According to Huff Post Maghreb. 3ich Tounsi denounced the happening by labelling the event as a dark day in the history of Tunisia.

The European Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that they didn’t have the right to intervene nor comment on the subject matter. Moreover, they stressed their strong bond with Tunisia describing the latter as “A dear friend and a privileged partner”. In the same context, French-Tunisian MP Sonia Krimi addressed the Committee of Foreign Affair in the French National Assembly, Krimi defended the new amendments that have been approved by the ARP. She asserted the need to dissociate political activities from any associative work.

Moreover, in an article published in The Arab weekly, Hamma Hammami leader of the Popular Front and spokesman of the Tunisian Workers’ Party said: “what happened in the parliament June 18th underscored the fact that our democracy is rotten and polluted with dirty money.” From her part university professor and social media activist, Olfa Youssef criticised the new amendments by stating “ban the apology of terrorism. This is natural in this parliament because those who rule the country and those who back them are terrorists”.

Additionally, Asharq Al-Awsat newspapers wrote “Members of the French parliament sent emails to their Tunisian counterparts urging them to prevent the implementation of the electoral law “.

According to Middle East Monitor” The proposals made by the National Alliance bloc, representing the newly formed Tahya Tounis party which is led by Tunisian Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, included banning the nomination of heads of associations and owners of TV channels”. The article continued by shedding light on the fact that “The National Alliance and Ennahda sought to guarantee a majority of the votes before passing to the voting process and approving the amendments.”Its worth to mention that during its held general assembly on the13th of June Ennahda Movement President Rached Ghannouchi announced the party support for the recent amendments.

Many questions raise itself in this current situation. How did Nabil Karoui rose in polls with no prior political background? Why did the government persist in pushing these amendments in such a short period?.The timing, pressure and strings played behind closed doors certainly raise eyebrows.With four months to the election, all can citizens do is sit and observe the situation as many things can change during a short period.The question that poses itself how did Nabil Karoui intimidate the government to an extent that pushed them to pass the law and why?.







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