A member of the Independent High Authority for Elections, Muhammad Al-Tilili Al-Mansri, said that the last date for issuing an invitation to voters, accompanied by the text of the referendum in the Official Gazette, is May 25.
In a statement to TAP today, Sunday, May 01, 2022, he explained that the basic law regulating the 2014 referendum stipulates the need to call voters two months before the scheduled date (the next 25 July).
Article 113 of this law stipulates that inviting voters to a referendum is carried out by a presidential order to which the draft text that will be submitted to the referendum is appended, and this order and its appendix are published in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Tunisia.
Al-Mansri stressed that organizing a referendum on July 25th requires updating the voter register by including nearly 2 million voters, including 500,000 young people who have reached the age of 18 and must be included in the voter register.
He also pointed out that organizing the referendum also requires the launch of an intensive registration campaign, which in turn assumes the existence of a calendar that has a legal basis for approval, i.e. a legal text in the Official Gazette.
Al-Mansri stressed that the registration, appeals, and all-election campaign stage requires legislative intervention to shorten the deadlines, while exempting the commission from following the procedures of public procurement, given the length of these procedures and their administrative complexities, which may be an obstacle to implementing the calendar related to the referendum on July 25th.
On the other hand, Al-Mansri indicated that the commission is also required to amend some of the ordinal decisions in light of the decrees that will be issued regarding the referendum, which confirms the need for the composition of the electoral commission to be ready and stable.
On the other hand, he indicated that the commission is always ready to conduct any kind of circumstantial or premature elections, but its composition must be stable and include elements of expertise according to his description.
It is noteworthy that the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, announced last December 13 a timetable for exiting the “exceptional measures” he had announced since July 25th.
This timetable includes, in particular, the organization of a referendum on July 25, 2022 on amending the constitution, and the holding of legislative elections on December 17 of this year.
On April 21st, he issued a decree (number 22) related to the revision of the provisions of the Basic Law of the Independent High Authority for Elections, stipulating that the board of the Authority shall consist of seven members appointed by a presidential order. Provided that the term of office of each member of the Council of the Commission shall not exceed four years, non-renewable.
The composition of the commission also includes a judicial judge, an administrative judge and a financial judge to be proposed by the relevant judicial council, in addition to selecting an engineer specialized in the field of information systems and safety.
It is noteworthy that the “I Watch” organization called on the President of the Republic, Kais Saied, on April 24 to cancel the scheduled referendum, given that the composition of the committee that will prepare the draft amendments related to political reforms has not yet been announced.