The Vice President of the Independent Higher Authority for Elections (Isie), Maher Jedidi, during his speech on Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at the microphone of Moez Ben Gharbia on Diwan FM, indicated that cases of fraud and dishonest practices have been observed in some municipalities in the country.
” Some mayors instruct agents to favor certain candidates and collect the maximum number of sponsorships in their favor. There are currently almost forty cases of this kind, out of 150 constituencies, which is a lot… we have emphasized that the Ministry of the Interior must intervene so that the process takes place within the framework of transparency and fairness of chances, but cases of fraud are actually have been observed, sometimes sponsorships signed without the presence of the signatory he declared.
Maher Jedidi pointed out an oversight in the decree 55-2022 amending the basic law 16-2014 regarding elections and referenda. According to him, this omission relates to the absence of mayors on the list of persons who are not eligible to present their candidacy to the Assembly of People’s Representatives for one year before the end of their functions. According to Article 20, these are members of the government and chiefs of staff, magistrates, heads of diplomatic and consular representations, governors, first delegates, general secretaries of governors, delegates and omdas, imams and the presidents of structures and sports. clubs. These voters cannot present themselves in the last constituency where they exercised their functions for at least one year before presenting their candidacy.
“Forgetfulness can occur in the legal texts (…) We trusted people’s objectivity and their ethics, but in practice it turned out that we had the right to these excesses, and I will continue to believe in good intentions… We are facing a real situation, the damage has been done and we have to propose solutions, in particular to preserve this text and introduce barriers to avoid these excesses, which in this case will give Isie a great appreciation in terms of application files the official said about it.
Maher Jedidi added that Isie is not against the amendment of the electoral law as long as it does not touch the heart of the electoral process and that it is being operated to effectively combat illegal and dishonest practices.
Maher Jedidi, had already gone back on the President of the Republic Kaïs Saïed’s decision on the amendment of Decree 55 on the electoral law.
He hinted that Isie had spoken to the Presidency of the Republic on the matter, noting that the body has indicated its opposition to any significant change.
Last Friday, Kaïs Saïed spoke during an interview with his head of government about “manipulations” of sponsorships. In this regard, he stressed the need to apply the law equally, noting that if the current legislation fails to meet its objectives, the sacred national duty demands its amendment to put an end to this reprehensible phenomenon.
Commenting on Kaïs Saïed’s statement, Maher Jedidi explained that the changes would a priori only affect the issue of sponsorships to compensate for the offenses committed last week.
He explained that in addition to the crimes of fraud related to legalized signatures recorded at the municipal level, Isie had registered offenses at the level of his regional branches. Some mayors have also taken advantage of the situation to illegally collect sponsorships, according to the vice president of Isie.
Maher Jdidi, in the same context, pointed out a conflict of interest, noting the importance of guaranteeing the principle of neutrality of the administration through its role in this process.
Maher Jedidi reiterated that Isie would only approve changes that would not affect the electoral process, stressing that this should not affect the eligibility criteria. ” If the change that will be proposed will have an impact on the electoral process, you will hear Isie’s voice «, he assured.
He also indicated that if Kaïs Saïed decided to reduce the number of sponsorships to 200 as originally recommended by Isie, this would facilitate the body’s work.