EUSpring | Supervising Tunisian Elections by civil society: How to improve it?

1 January 2015
Nihel Ben Amar (Professor at Ecole Nationale des Ingénieurs de Tunis; President of Tunisie vote) and Hamadi Redissi (Professor of Political Sciences at University al-Manar of Tunis)

On October 26, 2014, Tunisia held its second democratic legislative elections. Participation among more than 5 million registered voters was at about 60%, a relatively good turnout for the country, compared to the 52% voters in 2011. Celebrated as a real step towards democratic consolidation, elections confirm a strong commitment to democracy coming from political parties, but also from civil society. Part of the whole process, NGOs played a key role in all stages of the electoral process, from campaigning for the right to vote, to the control of the electoral process. International and local observers agreed that the elections were free, fair and transparent. There were isolated irregularities and incidents, none of which however were serious enough to threaten the electoral process. However, while international observers were highly optimistic, Tunisian civil society actors were relatively less enthusiastic and some were harshly critical. Incidents and instances of irregularities denounced were already mentioned in 2011 but in order to prevent any contest and to strengthen the electoral process, how should the mechanisms of supervising elections be improved? Hamadi Redissi and Nihel Ben Amar analyse just this and suggest the best ways for civil society in Tunisia to monitor future elections.

This paper is published in the framework of the EUSpring project on Democracy and Citizenship in North Africa after the Arab Awakening: Challenges for EU and US Foreign Policy ( The project is carried out by a consortium of organisations, including the European Policy Centre, University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, the Centre for Mediterranean and International Studies in Tunisia and the Centre de Recherche sur l'Afrique et la Méditerranée in Morocco and coordinated by Università degli Studi L’Orientale in Naples. The project is supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo.