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Tunisia: Inevitable Postponement of the July 24 Elections

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

Ever since the ousting of former president Zeine El-Abbidine Ben Ali, Tunisians have been looking forward for one thing: free and fair elections, which to them represent the only guarantee for a transition to democracy. On March 3, Interim President Foued Mbezaa announced that on July 24 Tunisians will cast their votes to elect a constituent assembly. Recently, however, many started to express their worries that logistically speaking the country is not ready yet to organize its first ever free and fair elections, and news about delaying the elections started to spread.

On May 22, the head of the independent election committee Kamel Jandoubi proposed the delay of the elections to October 16. The chairman of the committee claims that the reasons are mainly logistic and technical, and that the country “lacks in adequate conditions for organizing elections on July 24 as planned.”

On May 23, following a cabinet meeting, the government issued a statement in which it expressed its commitment to July 24 as the day of elections. Later on the same day, the committee again insisted on postponing the elections.

In the midst of this disagreement, the street is in total loss and confusion, as uncertainty hovers around the exact date of the elections, and the responsible parties seem unable to reach an agreement.

@Atriki:Le ping-pong continue entre gvt et #IIE. L'1 insiste sur le maintien, l'otre sur le report wa7na nkawrou binethom #TnElec

The game of ping pong continues between the government and the committee in charge of the elections. The first is for keeping the original date, and the second is for delay, and we are a ball between the two

@MoezTwit:Bon on peut espérer que d'ici le 24 Juillet ils se mettent d'accord sur la date des élection ?

Let's hope that by July 24, they will reach an agreement about the date of the elections

The vast majority of bloggers are against delaying the elections and they think that any postponement would take the country to the nowhere, and spread chaos.

Mokhtar Yahyaoui tweets:

Tout report des élections n'a qu'un seul sens: Un saut dans l'inconnu et conduire le pays vers le chaos

Any delay of the elections means one thing: A jump into the unknown and driving the country towards chaos

He adds:

Il faut revenir à la rue et clamer haut et fort : “الشعب يريد الإنتخابات” ” le peuple exige les élections

We have to go back to the streets and yell out loud: “The people want elections”

Others chose to lay the blame on the interim government and Prime Minister Beji Caid Sebsi.

@Arabasta1:أطالب باجي قايد السبسي بتحمل مسؤلياته و إحترام تعهداته و الإستقالة من اليوم بسبب عدم قدرته على تنظيم الإنتخابات يوم 24

I request Beji Caid Sebsi to assume his responsibilities, respect his pledges and resign today because of his inability to orgainze the elections on July 24

@dr_heny:Si #BCE ne respecte pas ses echeances #tnelec il est appelé à partir.necessité d'un vrai gouv d'union nationale puissant. #Tunisie #kasbah

If Béji Caid Sebsi does not respect the dates he chose, then he should leave. Necessity of a real and powerful national unity government

Blogger Hussein Ben Amer writes:

لا أشك لحظة واحدة في نزاهة وأمانة سي كمال الجندوبي. تاريخه يشهد له، ولكل أعضاء الهيئة المسؤولة على الإنتخابات. هم يريدون الخير للبلاد، لا شك في ذلك. لكن لا بد لنا من تحمل المسؤولية، من طرف الهيئة العليا التي تأخرت في إنجاز القانون، والحكومة التي ماطلت طويلاً قبل المصادقة على القانون الإنتخابي، وكل الأطراف التي شدتنا إلى الوراء بجدالاتها الجانبية العقيمة. كل هؤلاء مسؤلون. والشعب لن يسامحهم إن اضاعوا علينا فرصتنا التاريخية. اليوم مصيرنا بأيدينا، كل يوم يمر يزيد من خطر الرجوع إلى الوراء، وعودة الدكتاتورية، ونكسة الإقتصاد، والإنفلات الأمني، وكل ما يندرج عن غياب الشرعية والخوف من المجهول. فلتعملوا ليلاً نهاراً. إن إلتزم الأمر، أطلبو المساعدة من الخبرات والمنظمات العالمية، لا عار في ذلك. لكن نترجاكم، بروح من إستشهدو، بروح تونس، لا تخذلونا… لا تخذلونا!

I have no doubt about the honesty of Mr Kamel Jandoubi. His history reveals a lot about him, and all the members of the election committee: they want the best for the country. However, we have to be accountable. It took a lot of time for the High Committee for Achieving the Goals of Revolution, Political Reform, and Transition to Democracy to issue the electoral law and for the government to ratify it. And all the parties that pulled us back with their side sterile disputes. All of them are responsible, and the people will not forgive them if they cost us this historical opportunity

Fatma Arrabica raises a major question:

وهل تأجيل الانتخابات لمدّة شهرين سيكون كفيلا بانجاز كل المسائل العالقة ؟؟ انّ كلّ ملف من الملفات العالقة يلزمه ثورة

Is delaying the elections for two months enough to solve all the issues? Every single issue requires a revolution to be solved

Mehdi Lamloum does not make a big deal of postponing the election. He tweets:

Je ne pense pas que retarder les élections soit une catastrophe. D'ailleurs, peu de tunisiens semblent s'en soucier…

I don't think that delaying the elections is a catastrophe. Besides, only a few Tunisians seem to worry about it

It has become obvious that elections on July 24 will not take place, and all eyes are now on the reaction of the street.

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

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