mercredi 9 novembre 2011

Important changes in the Tunisian Parliament


Hechmi Hamdi, the controversial leader of Aridha Chaabia.

The period to contest the election results decreed by the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) came to an end on Tuesday. The Administrative Court rendered a decision that surprised many by accepting the appeal lodged by the independent list Aridha Chaabia and their controversial leader Hechmi Hamdi, who some believe, supported former dictator Ben Ali.

Thus, seven seats were recovered by the party. Remember that while presenting the results of the election on October 27th, the president of ISIE, Kamel Jendoubi, announced that eight of the 27 seats won by Aridha Chaabia were confiscated due to electoral fraud and the presence of an elected candidate in the France II riding who held an important position under the former regime.

The Administrative Court has therefore reversed a decision taken by the ISIE that went against the independent list in five ridings: Sidi Bouzid (3 seats), Sfax I (1 seat), Jendouba (1 seat), Kasserine (1 seat) and Tataouine (1 seat), for a total of 7 seats. This decision impacts significantly the composition of the Tunisian Parliament since the Aridha Chaabia list is once again in third place, a position it held before being sanctioned by the ISIE, with a new total of 26 seats.

Seats per party

The seats recovered by Aridha Chaabia mean two fewer seats for the Ennahda Islamic party, one less for Ettakatol, and also one less seat for both CPR and PDP. The final tally of seats for the top five parties in the Constituent Assembly election is as follows:

1 – Ennahda :                                                  89
2 – Congrès pour la République (CPR) :          29
3 – Aridha Chaabia :                                       26
4 – Ettakatol :                                                 20
5 – Parti démocrate progressiste (PDP) :         16

Note that the Administrative Court only reversed the ISIE decision where it involved electoral fraud. The elected candidate in the France II riding who had ties with the former regime remains disqualified. Full details of this decision haven’t been divulged. Remember that 104 protests were lodged and that only 6 were considered valid – with seven seats being awarded to Aridha Chaabia and one to Ennahda.

Reactions

The balance of power has now shifted in the Constituent Assembly. Recent rumours evoked possible alliances between Ennahda, CPR and Ettakatol, leaving aside Aridha Chaabia. But now that they’re in third place, will they still be ignored by the other parties?

A representative of Ennahda only declared that “the party respects the decision of the court and will continue negotiating with all elected members of the Constituent Assembly”.

Ettakatol’s reaction was much sterner. A party press agent revealed that they were very surprised by the decision and that they would refuse to collaborate with Aridha Chaabia members because of serious violations they committed during the electoral campaign. Ettakatol’s representative even mentioned that “members of that party gave money to citizens to obtain their vote!”

In Sidi Bouzid, an Aridha Chaabia stronghold and only riding where Ennahda didn’t finish first, many citizens celebrated in the streets when the judgement was proclaimed.

The Court of Appeal decides that former Premier of Libya will be extradited

Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi, former Premier of Libya.
Finally, a decision was rendered by the Tunisian Court of Appeal concerning the extradition trial of former Libyan Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi. He will be handed over to Libyan authorities who had requested his extradition when he was arrested last September 22nd. Due to procedural delays, M. Mahmoudi will only be returned to Libya after the promulgation of a decree by the interim president. No date has been established for this final stage in the procedure.

Last Monday, Amnesty International asked the Tunisian government not to extradite M. Mahmoudi since he might be exposed to serious dangers such has “an extrajudicial execution or an unfair trial”. 

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