ATIDE notes strengths in electoral law but warns against presidential rule
16/09/2022 17:47, TUNIS/Tunisia

(TAP) - "The amendments made to the electoral law have brought about major changes in the general orientation of the government's system and responded, in part, to civil society's demands to reform this law with the aim of conferring more transparency to the elections of the House of People's Representatives," said Bassam Maatar, president of the Tunisian Association for Integrity and Democracy of Elections (ATIDE).

In a statement to the TAP on Friday, Maatar said that this law "includes many unfair and exorbitant conditions that are difficult to meet and can lead, by ricochet, to backwards results, including the establishment of a hard-line presidential system.

Referring to the number of seats in the next parliament, the expert commended the reduction of the number of deputies from 217 to 161, saying that this is a "commendable measure", adding that the conditions for candidacy provided for in the amended text, including the cleanliness of the criminal record, is one of the demands so much advocated by civil society. "This is one of the strong points of this law," he added.

Returning to the issue of sponsorships, Maatar said that this is a "great dilemma" since the candidate will be unable to collect 400 sponsorships equally distributed (between women and men), 25% of which are under 35 years old.

Such a procedure will necessarily raise a number of questions about the profile of people who can accomplish this mission," he said, warning against the risk of buying sponsorships, which could lead to "a parliament below expectations.

The ATIDE leader also drew attention to the issue of the withdrawal of the mandate of the deputy, noting that this procedure "is in force in some experiences in the world and is generally applied in municipal councils and not in Parliament".

Addressing the issue of the choice of the uninominal voting system, Bassam Maattar stressed that this voting system could lead to a "disparate and fragmented parliament", stressing that it is legitimate to ask whether, under this system, the choice of voters will be about the candidate himself or his programme.

Another weakness of this voting system, Maatar added, is the risk of increasing the disaffection of voters who are already reluctant to participate in elections, resulting in low and therefore unrepresentative participation rates.

ATIDE president also criticised the issue of the division of electoral districts, saying that the presidency of the Republic has refrained from giving more details on the modalities of this division and the reasons for its choice, denouncing "the unilateral and non-inclusive approach" taken when amending the electoral law.

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