MEPs hail transparent and professional Tunisian elections
The peaceful conduct of Tunisia's first parliamentary elections under its new constitution has been praised by MEPs.
The elections resulted in the country's ruling Islamist regime being pushed into second place, as secularists emerged with the most seats. These were the second elections held since the fall of the Ben Ali regime in 2011.
The EU had signed a memoranda of understanding with Tunisia, guaranteeing freedom of movement to all electoral observers and access to all polling stations.
The head of parliament's seven-member delegation observing the Tunisian elections Michael Gahler welcomed the "remarkable success of the independent high authority for the elections, which organised a transparent, professional poll in a very short space of time".
Speaking at a press conference in Tunis, Gahler paid tribute to Tunisia's main political parties for their "frank and open" exchange of views with the parliament delegation. He outlined the delegations commitment to "recognising the legitimacy of the electoral process and the outcome of the poll".
"With this vote, the Tunisian people have shown a clear desire for a new government who will speed up the democratic transition in the country and will focus on the interests of all Tunisian citizens"
"These parliamentary elections are the first stage and will be followed by presidential elections. It is now up to Tunisia's new parliament to meet the democratic and social aspirations of the Tunisian people."
Gahler concluded by reiterating the commitment of the EU, and in particular the parliament, to supporting the new assembly, as well as Tunisian civil society.
The secular coalition's victory was also welcomed by parliament's S&D group president Gianni Pittella. He said, "With this vote, the Tunisian people have shown a clear desire for a new government who will speed up the democratic transition in the country and will focus on the interests of all Tunisian citizens."
Pittella added, "The secular party Nidaa Tounes 'call for Tunisia' are the clear winners and now they have the honour and the duty to form a progressive, democratic government capable of delivering on its promises of cooperation with other political forces." He praised the election as a "new chapter in the history of Tunisia's path to democracy".
The official results of the election are yet to be announced. A new government is unlikely to be formed ahead of Tunisians returning to the polls on 23 November to elect a new president, who will share power with the new parliament and prime minister.
The EU deployed more than 120 observers to oversee the conduct of the election. Approximately five million Tunisians were registered to vote in Sunday's poll.
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