OBSERVATORY JOINT MISSION FOR PRESIDENTIALS ELECTIONS
Future Elections: Focus on Voter Registration Logistics and Youth Participation “From a crisis situation to the transition of a safe and stable democracy – and an enduring transfor-‐‑ mation is what we wish for the people of Tunisia. We came to support the transparency of this historic process and we are pleased to report that our mission was successful,” said Dr. Loai Deeb, President of the Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD). At a press conference presenting the preliminary report of the international observation mission, Dr. Deeb stated that the mission was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for Inter-‐‑ national Election Observation and the Code of Conduct for International Election Observers, as well as with Tunisia’s laws and regulations. Largely, the parliamentary election process itself was peaceful; there was very little interference and very few reports of misconduct. This was the second peaceful election since 2011, and the glimmer of hope for democracy in the Arab world continues to propagate from a flicker to a flame. GNRD and IIPJHR also presented findings based on analysis gleaned from the checklists that were used to conduct the data collection portion of the observation mission. Checklists were specifically designed for this election and in accordance with Tunisia’s electoral laws and regulations. Fifteen groups were deployed – each team consisted of two international observers, and two logistic personnel. There were 55 observers and experts from GNRD; 25 observers and specialists from the Institute of Peace Justice and Human Rights (IIPJHR). The 80 international experts and observers were from 22 countries: Norway, India, Russia, Latvia, Canada, Spain, Armenia, Jordan, Egypt, Belgium, France, Zambia, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Austria, United States of America, State of Palestine, Sudan, Australia, Iceland, South Africa and Germany. Each team visited approximately nine to thirteen polling stations. In total, 148 polling stations were observed in 16 governorates where 67,069 voters were registered. It was concluded that more than 90% of polling stations experienced very limited issues or no problems. Observers witnessed a high turnout of voters in most polling centers, especially among the elderly, however youth representation at polling stations was glaringly absent. One audience member at the conference requested that GNRD and IIPJHR include recommendations in the final report to address
various government bodies and Tunisian authorities, to whom the report will be presented, and re-‐‑ quest that they draft a nationwide strategy to inspire youth participation in future elections. It was observed that the polling centers were highly organized and administered by committed, well-‐‑ trained teams. Women were largely involved in administration; women led 30% of polling stations. One of the major concerns of this parliamentary election pivoted around the logistical issues of voter’s lists. An indication that the administration of the voters lists needs improvement, as this breakdown reflected the fact that approximately 7% of voters arrived at polling stations only to find that they were not registered and therefore not allowed to exercise their right to vote. A member of the Tunisian diaspora flew from France only to find he was turned away and not permitted to vote. The synthesis of information gathered from the mission led to additional report recommendations that requested: ! ! ! ! !
The improvement of voters registration system that would ensure that all voters who want to vote are to be registered in the lists; Enhanced enforcement and monitoring of regulations relating to the placement of vot-‐‑ ing instructions at the polling centers; The creation of a policy that would simplify the voting process for the illiterate popu-‐‑ lation; The consideration to revise the legislation that would consider a possibility of the time extension for the voting process; The creation of a national strategy that would monitor and enforce the violation of the regulation of campaigning activities in and around polling stations that occur on elec-‐‑ tion day.
In the closing remarks, Mr. Magdy El Sayed Kaoud, GNRD Board Member, said, “If people willed for peace, then fate shall respond.” For this final statement, he received hearty applause. This will for transformation clearly became reality, as Tunisians pledged their commitment to democ-‐‑ racy and demonstrated desire for change through the use of the ballot box.
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS The joint mission is pleased to present its general comments and recommendations below. General Comments 1. In most cases the atmosphere at the polling centers was peaceful and the procedures were car-‐‑ ried out in an orderly manner 2. High turnout of voters in most polling centers, especially among elderly people. Less partici-‐‑ pation of the youth 3. Several cases were registered when the voters could not find their names in the list, thus were not allowed to vote 4. Administrations of the polling centers were well trained and prepared for their mission. Women were largely involved in administration, but only in 30% of centers they were heads. 5. The polling stations were provided with sufficient security 6. The observers were mostly given free access to polling stations and provided with the neces-‐‑ sary information 7. Closing and counting process went smoothly, only with minor errors which were more the re-‐‑ sult of lack of sufficient knowledge on the details of the procedure by the polling administra-‐‑ tion, rather than intentional errors. 8. Recommendations 1. Improve the system of voters registration in order for all voters to be registered in the lists 2. Redesign the voting ballot to make it less transparent 3. Amend the procedures with regards to illiterate voters so they have more assistance with how to cast their vote 4. Organize better campaigns to encourage the participation of youth 5. Higher percentage of women involved as heads of polling stations 6. Better enforcement and monitoring of regulations relating to campaign activities on election day all over the country, including in and around polling stations 7. Better enforcement and monitoring of regulations relating to the placement of voting instruc-‐‑ tions at the polling centers.
M. Jean-‐‑François Fechino, director of IIPJHR, delivers the final report of GNRD and IIPJHR Joint Election Obser-‐‑ vation Mission to Tunisia Parliamentary Report to President of High Independent Authority for the Elections (ISIE), Mr. Mouhamed Chafik Sarsar.
Thank you to GNRD team. Thank you to the IIPJHR Team…
Daniel Gueorguievsky Bruno Ravet Jean-‐‑Pierre Yabas Sebastien Parisot Gabriel Paris Floranne Lamoureux Tom Feraud Martha Perez Soria Imène Ajala Jean-‐‑François Fechino
International Institute for Peace, Justice and Human Rights Rue Richard Wagner, 1 CH - 1202 Genève +41 22 733 83 07 firstname.lastname@example.org www.iipjhr.com
Published on May 12, 2015
Observatory joint mission for Tunisian presidential elections. NGO. Geneva. Human Rights Council. EcoSoc. UNO