Tunisian leader vaunts 'success' of reform council

AFP , Thursday 13 Oct 2011

Fouad Mebazza praises council for undertaking influential political reforms and bringing about a democratic transition in the post-Ben Ali era

Tunisia's Interim President Foued Mebazza (Photo:Reuters)

Tunisia's interim President Fouad Mebazaa on Thursday congratulated a top-level council for "succeeding in its mission" of steering through political and electoral reforms as it wound up its work.

Presided over by jurist Yahd Ben Achour, the last meeting of the high council was held in Bardo Palace, attended by Mebazaa and Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi, with police out in force outside, an AFP correspondent said.

Set up in February, after the Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali fled a popular uprising in January after 23 years in power, the council was tasked with undertaking political reforms and bringing about a democratic transition.

"The high council has succeeded in its mission, notably in setting up the ISIE (electoral commission). There has been no vacancy in the institutions of state," Mebazaa said, closing the meeting.

Tunisians hold elections on 23 October, to vote for a constituent assembly that will draw up a new constitution. Nearly 11,000 candidates are to contest the elections in 27 districts, with opinion polls showing that the profusion of choices has left voters undecided.

During nine months and under a lot of pressure, the steering committee has given the North African country a new electoral code and established rules for the financing of political parties.

Ben Achour on several occasions expressed his commitment to success "in the interest of the revolution" and told AFP that "we have pulled off a miracle" in May by drawing up the electoral law in three weeks.

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