March 26, 2017 will be the official date of the municipal elections, announced the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE).
The announcement was made on Tuesday, May 17, 2016, by the President of the elections commission Chafik Sarsar, at a round table on the update of the roadmap of the local elections.
Achieving this goal remains dependent on two main conditions, said Sarsar. These are the publication of the decree on territorial division before May 30, 2016 and the adoption of the draft organic law on the election before July 22.
“This is a prerequisite so that the road map developed by the ISIE becomes a concrete timetable that will be later published in the Official Journal and we will therefore be able to hold elections within the time,” the President of ISIE told reporters. He recalled that the organization of municipal elections is more complicated than the parliamentary elections.
The situation requires an emergency response
The date proposed by the ISIE was confirmed by Prime Minister Habib Essid, he said, noting that the municipal elections are a crucial step for Tunisia in the next period.
“The municipal elections are of particular importance especially that the country is still in a transitional phase,” said Habib Essid, while indicating that meeting election deadlines is a priority for the success of municipal action.
However, the Prime Minister said the situation in many municipalities requires an emergency response and decision-making needed for their proper functioning.
“Efforts are continuing to consolidate municipalities, but obstacles still exist, including the environmental situation in many areas,” said Habib Essid, deeming it necessary to enhance efforts by adopting the Decree Law on the territorial division before May 30, 2016.
Number of municipalities rises to 350
For his part, Minister of Local Affairs, Youssef Chahed stated his commitment to respect the deadline set by ISIE.
Indeed, efforts are combined to meet this challenge especially that 3.5 million Tunisians are not covered by the municipal system, noted the minister, announcing, in the same context, that scientific criteria have been adopted for the creation of 64 new municipalities, which will bring the total number to 350.
These criteria are the result of a study carried out in this process. “This study was prepared by five ministries in coordination with several experts, and this for a period of two years while using scientific indicators such as regional and local development, health and transportation,” he explained.
The study to be published before the end of this month will include 17 indicators, according to him.
Political parties have a role to play
The time fixed by the ISIE seems not to arouse controversy especially among political parties, including Ennahda, the Popular Front, Ettakatol or Echaab which attended this event.
As such, Ennahda through the voice of its leader Imed Hammami, called on other parties to play their role to complete this crucial stage in the history of Tunisia. “Given the present situation in Tunisia, we must prioritise the interest of the country,” he said addressing the various political parties.