Tunisia’s elections to hold in November, says electoral chief

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TUNIS – Tunisia’s next presidential and parliamentary will likely be held the second half of November, the election agency’s chief, Chafik Sarsar, said on .

He said the polls would mark the country’s step towards full .

Sarsar, who heads the Instance Superieure Independante pour les (ISIE), said he would propose next week that the be held on Nov. 16 or Nov. 23.

“There is a strong probability that the will be on the third or fourth Sunday of November the case that the presidential and parliamentary votes are together,” he said.

Tunisian lawmakers are due to meet next week to decide whether or not to hold the votes on the same day.

“We don’t really have much choice because time is running out,” Sarsar said.

He said a less likely option would be to split the elections and to hold the first the last week of October.

“The date should be finalised in a week or so after the political parties hold their national dialogue over the next week,’’ the electoral chief said.

Tunisia’s often-turbulent political transition began after the 2011 uprising which ousted autocrat Ben Ali and inspired the “Arab Spring’’ revolutions across the .

Since then, Tunisia has been led by a caretaker and has adopted a new constitution.

But the transition process has been threatened by a between ruling Islamists and secular opposition parties which has at times turned violent.

Islamist party Ennahda rose to power in the first election after the uprising, held in October 2011.

Tunisia, one of the Arab world’s most secular countries, had struggled with growing divisions over the role of Islam in politics.(NAN)