An aide to Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has announced that the three parties in the coalition government currently holding a majority of seats in Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly have come to an agreement to call for new parliamentary elections on or before March 20, 2013.
“March 20th of next year has been suggested. It is not a final date 100 percent, and could happen weeks earlier if we finish drafting the constitution,” Jebali’s political adviser, Lutfi Zaitoun told Reuters.
The Tunisian Constituent Assembly was elected last October to draft a new Constitution for Tunisia and appoint an interim government after former President Zine El-Abddine Ben Ali was exiled to Saudi Arabia following the Tunisian Revolution in January 2011.
On December 7th, the ruling parties voted down an opposition proposal to enact a timeline for drafting a new constitution and scheduling new parliamentary elections while discussing bylaws for the Constituent Assembly, known as the “mini-constitution.” Zaitoun cited the current government’s desire to reassure domestic and international investors as well as Tunisian public opinion for the decision to call for new elections.
Dozens of former employees of Tunisia’s body for supervising the October 2011 Constituent Assembly Election– known by the French acronym ISIE, caused a stir on December 28th when they protested in front of the Constituent Assembly after they were laid off.
Members of the Constituent Assembly were unavailable for comment at press time.