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Transparent elections and broad participation

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Preliminary report on the elections day

Tunisia, October 24, 2011, at 4:00 pm

 The electoral process began at exactly seven o'clock on the morning of Sunday, 23/10/2011, with the opening of the polling stations of the National Constituent Assembly in the 24 states of the Republic of Tunisia and the 27 constituencies.

18 international observer from team of the Elections Network in the Arab Region were distributed to 15 constituencies in 12 provinces spread between the north, south, the east (coast), and the west in each of the (Tunis first and second constituencies, Ariana, Manouba, Ben Arous, Jendouba, Kef, Beja, Sousse, Monastir, Mahdia, Nabeul the first and second constituencies, Sfax the first and second constituencies). Observers of the Network attended with staff-members in the electoral offices at the opening.

The team of the Network observed the electoral process during the polling period, closing, and counting in (114) centers and (192) polling boxes, positive and negative remarks were recorded, which were included in all three reports (opening, voting, closing) issued on elections day.

The Network will issue a detailed report for the overall electoral process (the National Constituent Assembly elections) after the announcement of the final official results.

The electoral process on polling day highlighted the following most important positive and negative points:

Positive points:

1. Providing a safe and appropriate environment for voters to access polling stations, and to facilitate the task of their ballot.

2. Adoption of international standards for the secrecy of the ballot, direct vote, and the provision of equal opportunities for all to participate in polls.

3. Presence of full transparency about the instructions and procedures for the election and polling process, especially in the field of providing information electronically.

4. Facilitate the voting task for the disabled.

5. Opening of polling stations on time, with the exception of some, and the presence of the required number of employees, and providing the basic necessities for the voting process.

6. Broad participation of the Tunisian people from all communities, especially young people and women.

7. Taking quick and immediate action on some of the violations that came to the bodies responsible for the operation.

8. Local and international civil society participation to monitor and observe elections is a positive indicator to improve the electoral level up to international standards for successful elections.

Negative points:

1. The electoral offices were not divided in accordance with international standards, which set the upper limit of 400 voters per polling room.

2. Not publishing a list of the names of voters in some offices in front of the halls on the ballot, and absence of rapid response to e-mails regarding the identification voting halls for voters.

3. Varying levels of workers in the polling stations and the variability of diligence in the application of the opening, polling, sorting, and counting measures, which led to some delay and denying some voters from voting and participation.

4. Voters waited in line from half an hour to six hours.

5. The continuation of campaigning by some parties inside the election offices.

6. Voting was not facilitated for the illiterate.

7. Lack of commitment of some lists with the laws and procedures, and intervention of some others in the electoral process.

8. The polling offices were more than 500 m away from the residence of the voters, which resulted in non-arrival of some voters, especially the elderly and the sick.

Recommendations:

The most important recommendations with regard to the elections day:

1. Division of electoral districts in accordance with international standards so as to ensure fairness in determining the number of voters voting in the halls.

2. Upgrade the skills of staffers in the administration of voting and counting processes through specialized training.

3. Applying international standards regarding the practice of not campaigning at a distance of 100 m from the election offices.

4. Continue the use of e-mails technology and ensuring the requirements for its quality.

5. Facilitate access of voter to polling site; it should not exceed 500 m from the place of residence.

6. A list of names of voters should be put inside the polling center for a sufficient period of time to ascertain that it included the voters' names.

7. Adoption of reports and recommendations of the observers and take them into account in the assessment of the next electoral process.

8. Speed up the final results of the elections in respect to the will of the voter.

The Network's team confirms that the electoral process has been performed in accordance with the law and procedures, and that it adopted the standards of confidentiality, generality, directness, and transparency, which indicates the availability of the conditions of free and fair elections.

For further information, please contact our Tunisia Network team:

Dr. Nizam Assaf - Head of the Network.

0021652514039

Dr. Violette Dagher - the Official Spokesperson for the monitoring team.

0021626784425

Attorney Hoger Ghetto - Executive Director of the monitoring team.

0021652654128

e-mail:

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