Last updated: 1 September, 2011

Tunisia opens way to vote on October 23

Tunisian political parties have begun to present their candidates for the October 23 election of a constituent assembly, the Independent Higher Body for Elections announced Thursday.

“At the end of this operation, which finishes on September 7, we’ll have a clearer idea of the Tunisian political landscape,” Larbi Choukha, a member of the ISIE told AFP, in a country where 105 political parties are officially registered.

Lists of candidates of political parties, as well as independent candidates, must be handed in to regional commissions of the ISIE across the north African country, where autocratic president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was ousted on January 14 after a popular uprising.

The newly elected constituent assembly will be tasked with drawing up a new constitution and setting the country on a new path, after more than two decades of rule by Ben Ali’s party, which has now been dissolved.

Candidates must meet a minimum age requirement of 23 and must have a record clean of any activities within the dissolved Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD).

Electoral lists must be characterised by total equality between men and women, who should be given alternate places.

The constituent assembly will have 218 seats, nine of them reserved for representatives of Tunisians living abroad.