Tunisia's President Kais Saied seizes control of electoral commission, grants himself right to appoint new members
Tunisia’s president Kais Saied issued a decree on Friday which grants him the right to appoint the president and members of the new electoral commission, The New Arab's Arabic-language sister site reported Friday.
Saied will replace seven members of the Independent High Authority for Elections that organises and supervises elections and referendums, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported.
According to the new decree, the new members of the commission will serve four-year, non-renewable terms. They will be immune from prosecution while they serve.
The decree on #Tunisia's Electoral Commission is out, and it doesn't look good ... at all!— Mohamed-Dhia Hammami - محمد ضياء الهمامي (@MedDhiaH) April 22, 2022
3 members will be chosen by Saied from the pool of former ISIE members,
3 will be chosen by the temporary judicial council, already controlled by Saied.
They're all immune from prosecution. pic.twitter.com/uFuEf7Tqs0
The current head of the commission, Nabil Baffoun, expressed shock over the new decree.
"It can be said that the commission has become the President's body par excellence, with all seven [new] members being appointed by him, which fundamentally removes the concept of independence,” he said.
"The President will be a candidate for the presidency and appointed to the electoral commission, and therefore he will [encompass] a team that plays, [as well as] the referee and the guard. We cannot then talk about independence," he added.
The move is part of a continued power grab by the Tunisian president after he dissolved parliament last month and refused to hold early elections.
In July last year, he sacked the government, froze the country’s democratically elected parliament and seized a wide range of powers.
He later gave himself powers to rule and legislate by decree and seized control over the judiciary.