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Exploratory Mission to Tunisian Municipal Elections 2018 organized in partnership with the Arab EMBs, ISIE and UNDP

May 18, 2018 • By Emna Zghonda
Several EMB presidents, commissioners and officials representing Algeria, the Comoros, Croatia, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine and Somalia, and representatives of international organization such as IFES, Leagues of the Arab States.

In light of the successful Exploratory mission conducted to observe the municipal elections in Jordan (2017), in collaboration with the Tunisia Independent High Authority for Election (ISIE) and with joint support from the UNDP Regional Electoral Assistance Project and the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), the Organization of the Arab Electoral Management Bodies (known by the acronym Arab EMBs) has conducted its second exploratory mission to observe the municipal elections that took place in Tunisia on May 6, 2018. This activity is the first concretization of the MoU signed by International IDEA and the Arab EMBs on 2 December 2017.

هذا المقال الاخباري متيسر باللغة العربية


The programme represented a unique opportunity for the representatives of the Arab EMBs to share best practices and experiences in election processes and was a valuable opportunity for the ISIE to showcase its experience to regional colleagues. The mission of more than 35 participants focused on the technical and logistical arrangements of the ISIE in preparation for the different stages of the elections and allowed them to witness the polling and counting procedures. Participants were several EMBs’ presidents, commissioners, and officials representing Algeria, the Comoros, Croatia, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Palestine and Somalia, and representatives of international organization such as IFES, Leagues of the Arab States.  

The mission took place over three days for the period 5-7 May 2018 and was structured as follows:

 1. Briefing Day (May 5, 2018)

The first day, which was hosted by the ISIE in the election media center and was broadcasted on live streaming , was dedicated as a briefing day during which officials and commissioners from the ISIE gave insightful presentations on the general framework of decentralization, the main features of the new electoral law, how the ISIE manages different stages of the electoral process, and navigating the overlapping electoral structures. Each session was followed by general Q&A and discussions with the speakers.

The agenda was structured as follows:

  • Framework for Municipal Elections;
  • General Introduction to Electoral Management Process, focused on the background on Electoral Management Process, Awareness and Communication Plan and Education, Role of ICT in Electoral Management Process;
  • ISIE Management of the Electoral Process, which was structured around the Registration and Candidate Nomination phase, Campaign Monitoring, Monitoring of Audio-Visual Media during Electoral Campaigns, and the polling and counting processes; and
  • Role of Judicial Structures in the Electoral Process.

An electoral exhibition highlighted informational brochures from ISIE, IDEA, IFES, UNDP and DRI.

A handbook on Tunisia’s municipal election developed by International IDEA, Arab EMBs and ISIE targeting the practitioners in the electoral process. It gave a detailed overview of the general framework of the municipal elections in Tunisia, including the electoral system and its implications on candidacy, ballot paper design, voting mechanism, result tabulation mechanism, as well as some statistics on the electoral processes.


2. Election Day Visits (6 May 2018)

The participants were divided into groups and were dispatched in day-long field visits to several polling stations and tabulation centers according to a predefined plan. The groups were supported by volunteers and translators. A central operation room was set up to track the progress of the groups by GPS system.

During the visits, the participants were able to review the beginning of the polling process and follow-up with the close of voting and start of the tabulation processes, as well as visiting the central media center.


3. Feedback Session (7 May 2018)

This session took place on the day immediately following Election Day. It sought to solicit feedback from the participants on the mission’s organization, technical and logistical activities, and on the electoral process and positive comments and relevant practices for their own work in their home countries. 

The discussion that took place will be compiled in a detailed final report of the scoping mission to Tunisia municipal elections documenting the mission events, observations, and recommendations for future initiatives. The report will also include photographs and explanatory data of the technical aspects related to Tunisia’s first municipal election.


View photos from this event on the International IDEA AWA Facebook page and on the Arab EMBs Facebook page.

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About the authors

Emna Zghonda
Senior Programme officer
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