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Tunisia democratic transition ‘blocked’

TUNIS: Tunisia’s transition to democracy after its 2011 revolution has hit a roadblock, the electoral commission chief said Tuesday, criticizing a delay in holding the first local elections since the uprising.
“Tunisia stood out… through its partially successful transition and it is unacceptable that this march toward democracy be cut short,” Chafik Sarsar told La Presse newspaper.
“Everything is blocked… We have missed a date with history,” he said.
Tunisia, whose 2011 uprising inspired similar revolts across other Arab countries, has been touted as a regional example of a successful transition to democracy after a revolution.
Sarsar criticized Parliament’s delay in adopting an electoral law necessary to hold the country’s first municipal and regional polls since the revolt that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
He said the electoral commission needed “eight months from the publication of the law” to organize the polls.
If the elections are held in 2018, they will be immediately followed by the 2019 presidential elections, he said, warning holding these so close together risked “tiring out” the electorate.
Tunisia passed a new constitution in 2014 and held free parliamentary and presidential elections the same year.
But authorities have struggled to redress Tunisia’s economy and solve youth unemployment — particularly among new graduates — since the 2011 revolt

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