Tunisia’s Local Elections Likely to be Postponed, Says Chief of the Independent Election Commission

Chafik Sarsar, the Chief of Tunisia’s Independent Election Commission, has stated that it is likely that the 2017 local elections will be postponed yet again. The important elections are currently scheduled for March 2016 but were originally planned to be held in March of 2015. The reason for the delay is that the new electoral law has not yet been passed by the Tunisian Parliament. The Tunisian parliament is currently in summer recess, and Mr. Chafik Sarsar has argued that the local elections have been blocked due to the assertion of many politicians that the local elections are insignificant.

Five years after the ousting of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, the people of Tunisia deserve the opportunity to democratically elect their local representation. However, there have been positive developments recently, such as the adoption of a new Gender Parity Bill by the Tunisian government in June 2016. The bill was approved by 127 MPs to enable more gender equality in the parliament, and should ensure that women will occupy around 50% of local council seats after the local elections. This development in Tunisia demonstrates an important step towards improving women’s political participation at the next elections.