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Tunisians vote for assembly to draw up constitution

October 23, 2011 - TUNIS

Tunisia's interim government set a July date, subsequently reset, for a poll to select the individuals who will be responsible for drawing up a constitution, one of the first demands of activists who launched the so-called Jasmine Revolution. Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was ousted as president in January after weeks demonstrations that sparked similar uprisings against other long-standing Arab regimes. The country is struggling to stabilize. following the ouster.

Tunisia's interim government set the July date for a poll to select the individuals who will be responsible for drawing up a constitution, one of the first demands of activists who launched the so-called Jasmine Revolution.Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was ousted as president in January after weeks demonstrations that sparked similar uprisings against other long-standing Arab regimes. The ouster ended his 23-year rule, but the country is struggling to stabilize. If the election date is postponed, the likely reason will be the continuing unrest, with the authorities claiming they need a more secure situation before they can hold the vote. Citing a member of the National Democratic Party, AFP reported in May that the high commission charged with overseeing the crucial election has selected most of its 16 members, with the independent panel set to include lawyers, academics and a journalist.In a televised address, Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi prepared Tunisians for potential logistical delays that could cause a postponement. Tunisia has been rocked by days of protests against the interim authority that is in charge following the toppling of Ben Ali. A new wave of protests erupted in May after former interior minister Farhat Rajhi claimed that Ben Ali loyalists were planning a military coup should the newly legalized Islamist Ennahda (Renaissance) party win the election.

Tensions breed pessimism about Tunisia polls (Daily Star 15 Oct 2011)

Tunisia PM raises doubt over elections (News 24 9 May 2011)

Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution (WP 15 Jan 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-10-23