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Electoral panel delays Tunisia polls to October

The electoral commission asked for delay for planning, logistical reasons.



Tunis: The electoral panel organising the poll for Tunisia`s Constituent Assembly said on Thursday it had postponed the vote to October 16, despite the government wanting it to go ahead in July.

"The High Independent Panel charged with preparing elections has prepared a calendar that sets October 16 as the date of the election for the Constituent Assembly," said its chairman Kamel Jendoubi following a meeting with political parties.

"The date of July 24 is not on the calendar," he added.

The Constituent Assembly vote will be the first poll in the north African country since the fall in January of the regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was president for 23 years.

The electoral commission on Sunday asked for the vote to be delayed from July until October 16 for planning and logistical reasons.

The transitional government announced on Tuesday however that the poll would go ahead on July 24, stating that interim President Foued Mebazaa had signed a decree to this effect.

"The High Independent Panel decided to postpone the election to October 16 for technical and logistical reasons," panel member Arbi Chouikha said.

"We are the guarantor of transparent, free and democratic elections that should take place for the first time in our country," he added. "It is impossible to organise them by the date fixed by the government."

He said the setting of the election date was the prerogative of the panel.

The interim government will meet to discuss the decision of the panel, according to its spokesman Taieb Baccouche.

"If the panel convinces us that it is impossible to hold the elections on July 24, we could issue another decree" on fixing the election date, Baccouche said.

Most of the political parties have so far supported holding elections in July in order to ensure stability in the country.

Bureau Report

From Zee News

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