dimanche 30 octobre 2011

Who’s in charge ? The party leader or the candidates ?

Hechmi Hamdi

Without a doubt, the controversy of Tunisia’s first election is the Al Aridha Chaabia party and its obscure leader Hechmi Hamdi.

Let’s quickly go over the facts. The day after the election, Monday October 24th, initial results published by the ISIE (Independent supreme instance for the elections) revealed modest gains for this practically unknown party. At first, Aridha Chaabia won seats in rural regions of Tunisia.

As the ISIE results continued coming in over the following days, the party was winning seats in various areas across the country. Aridha Chaabia finally wound up in third place with 28 seats, only two less than the Congrès pour la République (CPR). Pretty impressive for a party unknown to journalists before the election.

However, this seemed too good to be true. Questions were being asked: how could an unknown party nearly finish in second place?

Accusations of electoral fraud were expressed by various groups. Two days after the election, as the final results were still being tabulated, ISIE president Kamel Jendoubi suggested that some Aridha Chaabia lists might be invalidated,

While presenting the final results of the election on Thursday evening, the ISIE confirmed suspicions by announcing that six lists (nine seats) were disqualified.

In response to this announcement, Hechmi Hamdi stated that he was withdrawing all his electoral lists from the Constituent Assembly and that no legal action would be undertaken.

In a surprising turn of events though, the 19 non-disqualified candidates have chosen to ignore Hechmi Hamdi’s decision and said they will be in attendance at the Assembly.

The official logo of Aridha Chaabia.
Worse yet, disqualified candidates have decided to oppose ISIE’s conclusion in court which is in disagreement with their leader’s pronouncement.

Finally, not to be outdone in this political soap opera, Hechmi Hamdi retracted his announcement only a few hours after making it and asked for forgiveness for his comments following the ISIE’s decision.

As stated by his candidates, M. Hamdi now maintains that all 19 elected members of his party will participate in the Assembly and that the others will be contesting ISIE’s conclusions in court.

Obviously the party leader not only has problems with the ISIE but he also has to deal with a serious lack of discipline within his troops. This drama will continue to unfold has the nine disqualified candidates will shortly undertake legal measures. Expect that this isn’t the last surprising turn of events for this party…

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