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Carter Center Commends Tunisia on Successful 2014 Elections and Makes Recommendations for Improving Electoral Process

Contacts: Soyia Ellison,
Don Bisson +216 21 76 82 08 or

Read the full report in English (PDF)

TUNIS - The Carter Center has released its final report summarizing its findings and highlighting the genuine and competitive nature of the 2014 legislative and presidential elections in Tunisia. The three rounds of elections were the latest steps in a transition to democracy that grew from a spark in December 2010 to the peaceful ouster of the authoritarian Ben Ali regime in January 2011. In its report, the Center commended the Tunisian people for overcoming significant challenges to reach these milestones, which are critical to the country's consolidation of democratic governance.

The completion of this electoral cycle represents a successful end to a long and difficult transition period. During this period, Tunisia adopted a new constitution, overcame several political crises, and elected a new legislature and president in the first democratic and transparent elections in the country's history. The 2014 elections demonstrated Tunisia's commitment to building permanent democratic institutions that guarantee the protection of human rights and ensure transparent and representative governance.

The Carter Center's assessment of the 2014 election process is largely positive. The Center commends the High Independent Authority for the Elections (ISIE) for making significant efforts to improve the electoral administration from 2011 and after each successive round of elections in 2014. The polls were conducted in a calm, orderly, and transparent manner.

To consolidate democratic gains, the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP) should move rapidly to promulgate a municipal electoral law, create the Constitutional Court and other permanent institutions required by the new constitution, and align national laws with the new constitution. Tunisian leaders should work together to address social, economic, and security concerns to promote stability and satisfy citizens' aspirations.

The ARP should work to ensure that legislation for the regional and municipal elections is in place well in advance of the election date to allow sufficient time for the ISIE, political parties, and CSOs to implement the new laws and prepare for the elections. It is disappointing that neither the law on new boundary delimitations nor the municipal election law has yet been released in draft form for consideration by the relevant commissions in the ARP. If elections are to be held in the first half of 2016, as currently planned, the ARP should fast-track this legislation.

The Carter Center's report makes several recommendations to Tunisian stakeholders that are especially relevant as Tunisia prepares for municipal and regional elections and the ARP begins reviewing the necessary legislation to implement the next round of elections.

Recommendations to the ARP include:

  1. Review, codify, and harmonize the electoral law based on the experience of the 2014 elections:
  2. Facilitate the accessibility and application of the electoral legal framework and minimize the use of ad hoc regulations in the next elections by incorporating the ISIE regulations adopted for the 2014 legislative and presidential elections in a comprehensive electoral law.
  3. Clearly delineate responsibilities among election bodies, giving the ISIE and regional electoral bodies clear authority, articulating their respective roles, and providing guidelines for their processes.
  4. In order to build public trust in electoral institutions, take steps to ensure that the legal framework and electoral calendar provide sufficient time for operational preparation. This is particularly relevant for the municipal elections in which government representatives are the closest to the people.
  5. Review current campaign finance restrictions, increasing expenditure limits to allow for the conduct of an effective campaign.
  6. Fully guarantee the protection of electoral rights and the right to an effective remedy by expanding the right of voters to file complaints about irregularities on election day and appeal decisions of the election administration about results.
  7. In order to promote universal franchise, review the right of suffrage for military and
    security forces.
  8. Conduct a transparent and inclusive review of the electoral constituency boundaries for all levels of elections. Nationally, constituencies should accurately reflect the population density in both in-country and overseas constituencies. On a municipal level, boundaries should not be influenced by the desire to achieve specific electoral outcomes.

Recommendations to the ISIE:

  1. Devise a clear communications strategy and expand its efforts to communicate with citizens and electoral stakeholders. Improve the transparency of its internal operations, particularly its decision-making processes.
  2. Make internal communication with the regional levels of the election administration more concise and timely with a view to unifying the implementation of the electoral procedures, particularly during the forthcoming municipal elections, when the regional election administration will be critical in organizing and implementing the elections.
  3. Strengthen the organizational and management capacity of the ISIE's administration, including delineating the responsibilities of the ISIE Council and its administrative body, and continue to focus on realistic deadlines and on accomplishing tasks in keeping with those deadlines.
  4. In order to reinforce the principle of legal certainty, according to which the law should be widely known and accessible, the ISIE should draft, adopt, and distribute regulations and instructions in a timely manner.
  5. Improve voter education efforts significantly. Low voter registration among youth suggests that those at the forefront of the revolution risk being sidelined in the political and civil affairs of their country. A voter-awareness campaign should be launched well before elections to engage citizens, including marginalized populations, and inform them of the benefits of voting,
  6. In preparations for municipal elections, the ISIE should consider employing former IRIE members for their institutional knowledge, and use its regulatory powers to ensure that men and women have equal opportunity to participate in their work.
  7. Increase collaboration with CSOs and other stakeholders to ensure observers' access to key aspects of the electoral process. Ensure that election-day regulations, such as loitering restrictions, fulfill their purpose to facilitate a transparent and efficient voting process without infringing on the rights and work of election observers.

Recommendations to political parties and CSOs:

  1. Continue to assist the ISIE's efforts with regard to voter education by disseminating this information through supporter networks. In the longer term, work with the ISIE to advocate for the integration of voter education into mainstream curricula.
  2. Incorporate women into political party structures and encourage women to take on leadership roles within political parties. Adopt internal regulations to ensure horizontal parity among lists, naming women as head of list in equal numbers as men.

Read the full report in English (PDF).

Background: The Carter Center established a presence in Tunisia in 2011 and observed both the 2011 National Constituent Assembly elections and the constitution-making process that culminated in the adoption of the constitution in January 2014.

The Center's activities shifted in June 2014 with the formal launch of an election observation mission to assess the preparations for and implementation of the 2014 presidential and legislative elections. The observation mission spanned over several months and covered the most significant elements of the electoral cycle. The ISIE accredited The Carter Center to observe the elections on July 7, 2014. The Center monitored voter and candidate registration, the legislative and presidential campaigns, all three rounds of balloting, counting, and tabulation in Tunisia, and the adjudication of electoral complaints leading to the announcement of final results.

The objectives of the Center's observation mission in Tunisia was to provide an impartial assessment of the overall quality of the electoral process, promote an inclusive process for all Tunisians, and demonstrate support for its democratic transition. The electoral process is assessed against the Tunisian legal framework, as well as Tunisia's international obligations for genuine democratic elections.

The Center's observation missions are conducted in accordance with the declaration of principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted in the United Nations in 2005 and is currently endorsed by 49 organizations.

The Center remains in Tunisia to monitor the process of harmonizing the ideals of the new constitution with existing domestic legislation and new legislation being considered by the ARP. The Center is also monitoring preparations for the upcoming municipal elections and working with civil society organizations preparing to observe those municipal elections to strengthen their capacity and share best practices.

To follow the news and activities of the Carter Center's Tunisia field office, like us on


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in over 80 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; and improving mental health care. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former First Lady Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.


Le Centre Carter félicite la Tunisie pour la réussite des élections et propose des recommandations pour améliorer le processus électoral

يشيد مركز كارتر بنجاح الانتخابات بتونس 2014 و يقدم توصيات لتحسين العملية الانتخابية

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