Lights on Presidential Decree No. 8 on elections and referendums

The text of Presidential Decree No. 8 of 2023 amending the organic law on elections and referendums has finally been published in the latest issue of the Official Gazette of the Tunisian Republic (JORT), dated March 9, 2023.

The decree aims to amend and complete the organic law on elections promulgated in 2014 in the context of the municipal elections, which was undoubtedly a full-fledged lab for sharing ideas, on electoral matters. It has been the subject of numerous revisions and additions, the latest of which came into force in September 2022.

Among the revisions introduced by this decree are those relating to the conditions to be met by a candidate wishing to stand for municipal office.

In this regard, the electoral decree requires that any potential candidate for the municipal elections must be resident and registered in the municipal constituency concerned by his candidacy.

In addition, his application file must be accompanied by the sponsorship of 50 registered voters in the same constituency, half of whom must be women and 15 of whom must be young people under the age of 35.

The decree also regulates the procedures for challenges in municipal elections, the withdrawal of candidacies, the filling of vacancies on municipal councils and the organisation of by-elections in these municipalities in a number of cases provided for by law, including the withdrawal of the term of a municipal councillor or the dissolution of the council.

The amendments introduced by the decree No. 8 also concerned the number of municipal councils members.

In this respect, the text of the decree sets this number at 8 seats for each municipality with a population of less than 50,000 inhabitants and 16 seats for each municipality with a population of between 50,000 and 150,000 inhabitants.

In the case of municipalities with more than 150,000 inhabitants, the composition of the municipal council will be 24 members.

Among the changes introduced by the decree No. 8 is the idea that each municipality is considered an electoral district by right.

Furthermore, according to the same text, the voter’s choice on the day of the election must be for a limited number of candidates, not exceeding the number of seats foreseen for the municipal council (i.e. 8, 16 or 24 seats), provided that the ballot paper is filled in without deletions, alterations or additions.

The same text also contains provisions on the modalities of the municipal election, the details of the counting of the votes cast and the proclamation of the results of the election.

Presidential decree No. 9 announcing the dissolution of all municipal councils until new municipal elections are held was published in the Official Gazette on Thursday.

Source: Agence Tunis Afrique Presse