lundi 7 novembre 2011

Contesting of the election results : only one successful demand

In the initial plan elaborated by the Independent High Authority for the Election (ISIE), the organisation responsible for overseeing the electoral process, a two week period after the election had been reserved to handle any opposition to the results of the election. To this effect, it was decided that any complaints would be presented to an administrative tribunal and that its judgement would be final and without appeal.

According to ISIE rules, any party or independent candidate had the right to present themselves to the administrative tribunal if they believed that a fraud had been committed and that they could prove it. They had a 48 hour delay after the final results were published to lodge an official complaint.

Since the final results of the election had been announced by the ISIE on Thursday October 27th, interested parties had until 22:00 on Saturday October 29th to present their grievance. To deal with complaints as quickly as possible, on October 26th, the ISIE opened an administrative centre where oppositions to preliminary electoral results could be registered.

At the expiration of the delay, the ISIE had 104 complaints. As of today, the administrative court has issued judgements on 60 of them and authorities have announced that the 44 remaining grievances would be analysed Monday and Tuesday of the next week.

The initial objective was to begin the deliberations of the Constituent Assembly on November 9th, after all electoral results grievances had been responded to. Many were sceptical about the Assembly starting on time because there had been numerous delays in publishing results of the election. Before the day of the election, it had been announced that final results would be issued on Tuesday when in fact they were released 48 hours later. Nonetheless, nothing can be said for the moment on the swiftness of operation of the administrative tribunal since it expects to have completed the study of all the requests by November 8th, just in time for the opening of the Constituent Assembly the following day.

Another sign that the elections went smoothly, only one of the first 60 complaints was found to be legitimate. In that case, an additional seat was awarded in the Medenine riding to the Islamic party Ennahda which brings their total number of elected members to 91. The reason given by the tribunal in their decision was that polling officials in a riding had erroneously included in their calculations blank ballots. That mistake had diminished the proportion of votes accorded to Ennahda in the riding, which resulted in awarding them four seats instead of five. It was the only complaint filed by the party against the results of the election.

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