Statement by the PACE mission to observe the election of the constituent National Assembly of Tunisia

Strasbourg, 24.10.2011 - "The observer delegation from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) congratulates the citizens of Tunisia for having achieved this rendez-vous with history. For the first time, they have freely elected their constituent National Assembly, laying the foundations of their democracy. They have thus transformed the revolutionary dynamic into a legal and legitimate institution, thereby setting an example for the entire region.

The PACE delegation thanks the Tunisian transitional authorities for having guaranteed the free expression of citizens' will and congratulates them on their commitment. The election day was calm and peaceful. The people of Tunisia expressed their will freely and in a dignified manner.

The delegation hails the excellent work done by the High Commission for the Fulfilment of Revolutionary Goals, chaired by Mr Yadh Ben Achour, which made it possible to reinforce the confidence of political players and citizens in the electoral process.

The Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) operated in a fully independent and neutral manner. It fostered conditions conducive to the fair and equal treatment of participants in the elections. The delegation wishes to acknowledge the remarkable work done by the thousands of electoral officials, dedicated to ensuring the proper conduct of the elections.

Tunisian voters were able to have a real choice among many political tendencies. However, in view of the legitimate concern to ensure equality of opportunity for candidates, the election campaign was strictly regulated, attracting criticism from some political circles.

Certain weaknesses nonetheless came to light on polling day. In particular, problems were encountered with the management of electoral registers and with voters' allocation to polling stations, which caused delays. Faced with these constraints, the people showed an exemplary maturity and sense of responsibility, patiently waiting outside the polling stations for their turn to vote.

The PACE delegation welcomes the application of the gender parity rule to the lists, but regrets that this parity may not be reflected in the composition of the future constituent National Assembly.

It calls on the country's key political players to recognise the results of the elections and rapidly begin work within the constituent National Assembly. The legitimacy acquired by this Assembly and its sovereign power should enable it to meet the urgent essential needs of the country and of its citizens. The Parliamentary Assembly is ready to place its wealth of experience at the disposal of the newly elected constituent National Assembly, if it so wishes.

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe will adopt its final report on observation of the elections to the Tunisian constituent National Assembly at the meeting of the Standing Committee to be held on 25 November 2011 in Edinburgh".

Membership of the PACE delegation:

Andreas Gross (Switzerland), Head of delegation

Jean-Charles Gardetto (Monaco, EPP/CD)
Joachim Hörster (Germany, EPP/CD)
José Mendes Bota (Portugal, EPP/CD)
Yves Pozzo di Borgo (France, EPP/CD)
Mehmet Tekelioglu (Turkey, EPP/CD)
Stefaan Vercamer (Belgium EPP/CD)
Lennart Axelsson (Sweden, SOC)
Maryvonne Blondin (France, SOC)
Viola von Cramon-Taubadel (Germany, SOC)
Pietro Marcenaro (Italy, SOC)
Christopher Chope (United Kingdom, EDG)
Paata Davitaia (Georgia, EDG)
Roger Gale (United Kingdom, EDG)
Anne Brasseur (Luxembourg, ALDE)
Nursuna Memecan (Turkey, ALDE)
Marina Schuster (Germany, ALDE)
Jean-Paul Lecoq (France, GUE)

For more information, please contact:
Nathalie Bargellini, +33 6 65 40 32 82 / + 216 523 188 97 (local number),