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Tunisia coalition rejects amending election commission law 

Tunisian flag raised up at Belvedere Park in Tunis on 20 March, 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian flag raised up at Belvedere Park in Tunis on 20 March, 2017 [Amine Landoulsi/Anadolu Agency]

The Tunisians for Democracy Coalition yesterday rejected a presidential decree to amend the basic law of the country's election commission, saying the decree "completely cancels the commission's independence" and represents a "departure from the constitution", Anadolu reported.

The coalition, which includes human rights activists and politicians who oppose the decisions taken by President Kais Saied since 25 July, said in a statement that the presidential decree consolidates the de facto authority, and strips credibility from any future election.

"The unconstitutional decree represented an announcement that Saied would put take control of the electoral commission and grant its members absolute immunity for the next four years. This represents a clear indication of his true intentions regarding his electoral calendar, which includes a referendum and legislative and presidential elections supervised by his independent supreme electoral authority," the coalition said in a statement.

The statement added that "the system of autocracy continues to expand and devour constitutional institutions and independent bodies"."

The Tunisian authorities did not comment on the coalition's statement.

READ: UN hopes Tunisia does not 'stray from democracy'

The elections commission was established in 2011 as a constitutional body which supervises general elections. It comprises nine independent members elected by parliament based on the two-third majority vote.

On Friday, Saied issued a decree to amend the basic law of the country's elections commission known as the Independent High Authority for Elections.

Under the decree, the commission will be reformed to include seven members, including three judges and an information specialist, all appointed by the president himself.

The new decree also gives power to Saied to appoint the head of the elections commission and to relieve any of the commissions' members.

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