The next general elections in post-revolutionary Tunisia will take place “around the 20 or 21 March” 2013, once a new constitution is ready, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has announced.
Questioned by AFP about the date of the poll, which is expected in spring next year, Jebali said: “In March, of course. Around the 20 or 21, in any case at the start of the (school) holidays. That’s the date fixed for the moment.”
The government chief was speaking on the sidelines of a cooperation forum between China and Arab nations which wound up late Thursday in the eastern town of Hammamet.
The polls must be held after the adoption by an elected constituent assembly of a new constitution for the north African country, which led the way in the Arab Spring uprisings and saw the ouster of longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.
Depending on the constitution the assembly agrees on, the elections will be either parliamentary or parliamentary and presidential.
“There is a clear desire on the part of the troika (the coalition of three parties in power) to speed up the preparation of the constitution,” Jebali said.
The Islamists of Ennahda, which dominates the government and the constituent assembly, are allied to the two leftwing parties, the Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol.
The work of the assembly is going very slowly and many observers have wondered whether it will be able to complete the constitution by an October deadline.
Constituent assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar has in recent weeks said repeatedly that the constitution will be ready by October 23, 2012, a year after the election of the assembly.
“The people will bear witness to the discussions that will take place, to those who want to slow things down and those who want to work fast. We (the troika) will go fast. It isn’t in the interest of our country to put off the elections and to slow down the writing of the constitution”, Jebali said.