TUNIS – Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi has announced parliamentary and presidential elections and a summit of the Arab League as the main events scheduled in 2019 in Tunisia. In his traditional New Year’s address, the president called on Tunisians to welcome 2019 ”with optimism and responsibility”, noting that ”free, fair and transparent elections” are confirmation of the country’s democratic process.
Essebsi requested an ”adequate climate so the elections can take place under good conditions” and urged Parliament ”to speed up procedures for the election of the Constitutional Court’s members, of the president of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) and to renew the mandate of its other members”.
Speaking of the presidential vote, which has not been scheduled yet – like political elections – but should be held presumably in October-November – the president urged citizens to vote, explaining that failing to vote is ”out of place and all Tunisians need to make their voices heard, choosing those who will represent them and taking responsibility”.
The elections’ results ”will be accepted by all”, added Essebsi, calling for unity.
Another key event is an Arab League summit to be held in Tunis on March 31. The gathering, according to Essebsi, can offer an opportunity to ”strengthen Arab unity”. The summit, according to some analysts, could also lead to Syria’s return within the Arab League after its ouster in 2011.