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The Carter Center Welcomes Completion of Tunisia's Voter Registration; Highlights Additional Steps Needed to Ensure Successful Polling

CONTACT: In Atlanta, Deborah Hakes +1 404-420-5124; 
In Tunis, Sabina Vigani + 216 23 63 49 79, + 225 08 23 55 23

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A Carter Center statement released today noted that Tunisia's voter registration process was conducted smoothly, but important operational challenges remain for the High Independent Authority for the Elections (ISIE), particularly the allocation of voters to polling stations and a campaign to disseminate voter information to the public. The Center recommends intensified public outreach by the ISIE and other bodies to assist Tunisians in the electoral process. A credible and successful electoral process will be a key step toward democratic transition and stability in Tunisia.

Voter registration started on July 11 for an initial period of three weeks and was later extended through Aug. 14, a positive step to increase participation. Approximately 1,000 registration centers, including mobile teams, operated under the supervision of the ISIE and its branch offices in the 27 electoral districts. Tunisians residing abroad had the opportunity to register at consular and diplomatic missions until Aug. 28.

Despite numerous challenges, including initial technical problems with the online registration system, tardy designation of Regional Independent Authority for Elections (IRIE) members, late start of the outreach campaign, and inconsistencies in the implementation of procedures, in particular regarding the requirement that individuals personally register, the voter registration process was conducted peacefully across the country. According to the ISIE, 3,882,727 citizens registered in Tunisia, representing approximately 55 percent of the estimated voting population.

Voters were not required to register as a prerequisite to be included on the provisional voters list generated from the database of national identity cards. Instead, the voter registration process was implemented as a "passive" exercise, with registrants given the opportunity to update their data and to select a polling station nearest to their intended location on polling day. Since approximately 45 percent of the voting population did not participate, the Center encourages the ISIE to consider additional steps and appropriate mechanisms to ensure that all voters can identify the location of their polling stations. Reports in the Tunisian press regarding a recent ISIE announcement indicate that eligible voters who did not participate in voter registration will be permitted to select the location of their polling station from Sept. 4 – 20. While further information is required to confirm the mechanisms that will be utilized, the Center encourages and welcomes these efforts.

The Carter Center also noted the dedication of the election management body in carrying out its responsibilities. However, the Center underlines the importance of the ISIE taking action to ensure the Technical, Administrative and Financial Body (OTAF) is adequately staffed to strengthen its capacity to prepare for and administer electoral operations and better coordinate between the national and regional offices.

The low turnout in the initial phase of the voter registration was even more discernable during the exhibition and challenges period when voters were given the opportunity to inspect the provisional voters list from Aug. 20-26. In light of this, The Carter Center encourages the ISIE to launch timely voter information campaigns and to provide specific messages tailored to each phase of the electoral process.

The Center appreciates the cooperative approach demonstrated by the election authorities toward international observers, including the timely provision of accreditation. We encourage the ISIE to facilitate this process for Tunisian observers, given their important role in increasing transparency and public confidence. To further strengthen transparency, The Carter Center encourages the electoral authorities to pursue regular consultations with all relevant stakeholders and make all official documents widely accessible, particularly by posting on the ISIE website.

Background: The Carter Center received a letter of invitation from the ISIE to observe the electoral process in mid-July, followed by official accreditation on Aug. 4. The Center observed voter registration, deploying 10 long-term observers who visited 191 voter registration centers in all of the state's governorates, and met with election officials, political parties representatives, and civil society organizations.

The Carter Center will remain in Tunisia to observe the candidate registration period, campaign period, polling day, counting and tabulation processes, and resolution of electoral complaints for National Constituent Assembly elections. The Center's long-term observers will be joined by 40 short-term observers from various nationalities in the lead-up to election day. The objectives of the Center's observation mission in Tunisia are to provide an impartial assessment of the overall quality of the electoral process, promote an inclusive process for all Tunisians and demonstrate international support for this ambitious democratic transition. The elections will be assessed against the Tunisian legal framework, as well as Tunisia's international obligations for genuine democratic elections.

The Center's observation mission is conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation and Code of Conduct that was adopted at the United Nations in 2005 and has been endorsed by 37 election observation groups. The Center will release periodic public statements available on its website:


"Waging Peace. Fighting Disease. Building Hope."
A not-for-profit, nongovernmental organization, The Carter Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy and human rights; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers in developing nations to increase crop production. The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide.


Le Centre Carter salue l'achèvement de la phase d'inscription des électeurs en Tunisie, et met en évidence des mesures supplémentaires nécessaires pour la réussite du scrutin

مرآز آارتر يرحب بانتهاء عملية تسجيل الناخبين في تونس و يسلط الضوء على خطوات إضافية لازمة لضمان نجاح الانتخابات

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