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Tunisia pre-poll tactics reveal democratic flaws

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Significance

Tunisia will hold legislative and presidential elections on October 6 and November 10, respectively. On June 18, parliament passed an amendment to electoral law barring individuals who use their media or other organisations for campaigning from running for office. Karoui was the frontrunner to win the presidency in a June 12 opinion poll published by Sigma Conseil, but will be prevented from running if the law enters force. He owns Nessma TV, which has been critical of the government, as well as a charitable organisation. This makes the amendment look as though it is targeting individuals who could threaten the major parties’ control of government.

Impacts

  • Tunisia may have set a precedent for preventing media personalities or wealthy populists from using their influence to become politicians.
  • The ruling coalition may lose support if it is seen to be manipulating the electoral process to ensure victory.
  • This case highlights the urgency of establishing a constitutional court to protect Tunisia’s democratic transition and consolidation.
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