News / Middle East

Tunisian Assembly Approves New Electoral Law

Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa (L) speaks with President of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaafar during a meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, May 1, 2014.
Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa (L) speaks with President of the Constituent Assembly Mustapha Ben Jaafar during a meeting in Tunis, Tunisia, May 1, 2014.
Reuters
— Tunisia's national assembly on Thursday approved a new electoral law, to take one of the last steps in the country's move to full democracy after the 2011 uprising that inspired the "Arab Spring" revolts.

Passing the law allows electoral authorities to set a date for the first election since the North African state adopted a new constitution that has been praised as a model of democratic transition in the Arab world.

Members of the 217-seat assembly voted 132 in favor and 11 against the new electoral law.

"This is an important step," said Mehrzia Labidi, vice president of the assembly.

With its new constitution and a caretaker administration governing until elections later this year, Tunisia's relatively smooth progress contrasts with the turmoil in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, which also ousted long-standing leaders three years ago.

After former autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was toppled, Tunisia struggled with a deepening divide over the role of Islam in one of the most secular countries in the Arab world.

Islamist party Ennahda won the first free election after Ben Ali's fall and formed the first government, but the assassination of two secular opposition leaders triggered political crisis.

Ennahda and its main rival Nidaa Tounes reached a compromise that called for the Islamist party to step down and the new constitution to be finished to clear the way for elections.

The electoral law debate was clouded by disagreements over a proposed measure that would have excluded former Ben Ali officials from running for office. The Nidaa Tounes movement is headed by a former parliament speaker under Ben Ali.

But even Ennahda opposed the exclusion measure, as a way to ensure Tunisia's transition to democracy was completed, party leader Rached Ghannouchi told Tunisian television.

"The rejection of political explusion sends a strong message that our revolution continues, without revenge," said Khemais Kessila, of Nidaa Tounes. “It shows that we are avoiding any divisions.”

Battling Islamist militants and tackling public spending to reduce the deficit are two major challenges for the caretaker government of Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, who has been welcomed by international partners and financial lenders.

You May Like

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid