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Arab League praises Tunisia's parliamentary elections

Praise for elections comes after the Arab League's mission to monitor the process earlier this week

Ahram Online , Wednesday 29 Oct 2014
Tunisia
Supporters of the Nida Tounes (Call of Tunisia) secular party movement wave flags and shout slogans outside Nidaa Tounes headquarters in Tunis October 28, 2014 (Photo: Reuters)
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The Arab League's observation mission to the Tunisian legislative elections stated on Wednesday that the results signify a "frank expression of the will of the people who seek to develop their democratic experience."

According to Al-Ahram’s Arabic news website, the mission's preliminary report on Sunday’s elections was submitted to Arab League chief Nabil El-Arabi and included "detailed recommendations and negative remarks to be avoided in coming elections."

Copies of the report will be given to different Tunisian authorities as well, Al-Ahram pointed out. The mission, headed by the league's assistant secretary-general Wagih Hanafy, visited 384 polling stations and 10 vote-counting offices that cover 20 constituencies.

Members of the mission came from ten member-states of the pan-Arab organisation including Egypt, Iraq, Sudan, Somalia, Morocco, Kuwait, Jordan, Mauritania and Comoros.

In its report the mission asserted that the electoral process was held on basis of "freedom, fairness, transparency and respect of the law." The mission, moreover, praised the "state of calm" that surrounded Tunisia's elections.

Expressing admiration for the Tunisians' "peacefulness, patriotism and political maturity,” the Arab League team called on all political parties to resort to legal means if they have objections on the results.

The mission urged the Independent High Electoral Commission (Instance Supérieure Indépendante pour les Élections – ISIE) to exert more effort in "enhancing its working mechanisms,” while also giving it credit for performing its tasks in "difficult conditions."

A preliminary vote count showed the leading secular party, Nidaa Tounes gained 80 seats (38.24 percent) in the 217-seat assembly, while the Islamist Ennahda movement came in second with 68 seats (31.33 percent).

Other reactions from organisations coming in the last few days also provided positive impressions. An EU observer mission said on Tuesday that Tunisia's first parliamentary election since its 2011 revolution was transparent and credible.

The United Nations' Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon issued a statement relayed by his spokesperson Tuesday  that congratulated Tunisians.

"These elections are a crucial step for the country's future and mark a decisive milestone in the transition to democracy," read the statement. The statement described the election as a moment that brings with it a great deal of hope. It added that that a number of crucial tasks still lay ahead for the incoming government.

"The United Nations stands ready to support Tunisia in this respect," the secretary-general stressed. The statement also said that Ki-Moon congratulates the Tunisian electoral authorities for their efforts in organising the polling and their continued work on the presidential elections next month.

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