European parliamentary assembly to monitor Tunisian polls

A delegation of 20 members of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) will monitor Tunisia’s election on Oct. 23, the pan-European organization announced Friday.

They will join observers from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) as well as the European Union for the historic poll, which is the North African country’s first free vote in more than two decades.

On Oct. 23, Tunisians will be voting for a constituent assembly after a transitional period following the toppling of the 23-year dictatorial regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled on Jan. 14.

The members of the PACE delegation, which will be led by Andreas Gross of Switzerland, will meet Foreign Minister Mohamed Mouldi Kefi, Education Minister Taieb Baccouche and Equality Minister Lilia Laabid, as well as representatives of political parties, the statement said.

During their stay, from Oct. 20 to Oct. 24, they will also have talks with Yadh Ben Achour, the chairman of the High Commission for the Fulfillment of Revolutionary Goals and the chairman of the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) Kamel Jendoubi.

They will also meet representatives of non-governmental organizations and the media, before being deployed throughout the country to observe the conduct of the ballot.

A pre-electoral delegation of the PACE went to Tunis on Sept. 15 and 16 and reported back on the “considerable efforts” deployed to organize the poll for the new parliament, which will draw up a new constitution for the country.

“Despite the delay in drawing up voter lists, concerns over the organization of voting for citizens living abroad and the possible risk of tensions during the electoral campaign, the delegation noted with satisfaction that the Tunisian authorities had swiftly devised a legal framework for organizing pluralist elections,” the PACE statement said.

( / 15.10.2011)

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