Tunisia's electoral commission said Thursday it wants the first national election since the toppling of the country's longtime strongman delayed for three months.
TUNIS – The commission proposed holding the vote for a constituent assembly on Oct. 16 instead of in July to allow organizers more time.
“We didn’t issue this report with a joyous heart, but keeping July 24 (as the date) would have been much worse,” said Larbi Chouikha, a member of the commission.
The electoral commission pointed to “numerous shortcomings and deficiencies” in the organization of the election. It noted in particular that about 3 million Tunisians aren’t included on the electoral database and hundreds of thousands others don’t have any, or valid, identity cards.
The constituent assembly’s main job will be to write a new constitution for Tunisia after President Zine El Abedine Ben Ali fled the country in January following a popular uprising against his 23-year rule.
It was not clear whether the commission’s decision was final or could be overturned by the interim government, which will examine the issue Tuesday. Earlier this week, the government recommended keeping the initial date.
Those in favor of holding the election in July had argued that an earlier vote would help bring political stability to the country. However, numerous political figures have said Tunisians need more time to become acquainted with the dozens of parties that have emerged.