European Officials Pressure Tunisia to Stop Electoral Law Amendments

Tunisians.jpgMembers of the French parliament sent emails to their Tunisian counterparts urging them to prevent the implementation of the electoral law amendment approved by the Parliament to ban heads of media institutions and non-governmental organizations from running the Tunisian elections scheduled for later this year.

French parliamentarians and representatives of the European Union in Tunisia sent emails to leaders of the National Alliance, which also represents Tahya Tounes Movement, asking them to stop the implementation despite being approved by an absolute majority within the parliament, confirmed Tunisian parliamentary sources.

A Tunisian political analyst, Khalil al-Hanashi, confirmed that the letters were sent by what he called “supporters of EU candidates in the Tunisian presidential and parliamentary elections.”

Hanashi pointed out that Olfa Terras, head of Eish Tounsi Association, plans to run in the upcoming elections. He noted that Terras has a direct relationship with French MPs and her family maintains close relations to current governing circles of the French government.

For his part, head of Tunisia’s Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Nabil Baffoun stated that the authority will implement the new law ratified by the majority of members of parliament, stressing that it will not interfere in the work of the legislative authority.

In the same context, MP Ammar Amrouseh revealed that opposition MPs will contest the constitutionality of the amendment, stressing that the opposition will not be silent about the many violations that accompanied the parliamentary session allotted to the vote.

Speaking on the sidelines of a transportation conference, Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) Secretary-General Noureddine Taboubi criticized the amendment of the electoral law saying the revisions were tailored to serve narrow political deals for the interests of some parties.

Prior to the vote on the amendments, presidential elections’ candidate Nabil al-Karoui described the ratification of the electoral law shortly before the election date as a crime against the people and democracy.

Karoui, who is also the owner of Nessma TV, believed the amendment was tailored to target him personally.

After the vote, Sahbi Ben Fredj, a supporter of the government proposal, gave a statement in which he asked Karoui to devote his time now for charity.

“We hope your electoral ambitions will not distract you from charity,” he said.