Tunisia’s Administrative Court decided Tuesday morning to accept appeals made ??by Aridha Chaabia (People’s Petition), reinstating 7 seats gained in 5 electoral districts.
Tunisia’s electoral commission (known by its French acronym ISIE) had previously invalidated the lists on grounds of campaign finance violations. With 26 seats, Aridha Chaabia is again the third strongest force in Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly, one of the biggest surprises of the results of October’s elections.
Hossni Badri, memeber of the Aridha list in Sidi Bouzid, one of the districts in which the party had their seats returned to them, told Tunisia Live, “We expected this decision, we trust our Tunisian judiciary system…we did not commit any violations.”
Hanen Sassi, head of the list of Aridha in Sfax 1 expressed to Tunisia Live that the felt the decision originally made by ISIE was unfair.
“ISIE should have dropped other parties lists because their vioaltions were clear and open while we only respected the law,” she said, continuing, “We only want the best to Tunisia, we seek to write a democratic constitution and establish a new government.”
Monia Abed, a member of ISIE, stated to Tunisia Live, “We have to respect the decision made by the administrative court, even if we do not agree with it. In fact, we were surprised by this decision because according to our investigations, Al Aridha has committed many violations.”
With the seats reassigned to Al Aridha, center-left party Ettakatol has fallen to the fourth largest party in the Assembly. Mohamed Benour, the spokesperson of Ettakatol, told Tunisia Live that they were shocked by the decision made by the administrative court.
He said, “Al Aridha made clear electoral violations, everyone knows that, the list has made many serious violations, they were giving people money to vote for them. We suspect that they were dealing with people from Ben Ali’s former regime.”
In addition, Abdelatif Mekki, member of the executive office of Ennhdha, stated that they are going to respect the decision made by the court, saying, “We have to respect this decision.”
When asked about dealing with Aridha in the constituent assembly, he replied, “We are going to deal with political positions and programs not Al Aridha as a list.”
The meeting of the Administrative court on Tuesday completed the consideration of all appeals concerning the results of elections of the National Constituent Assembly. Of 104 demands, 6 appeals have been accepted, granting one seat to to Ennhadha and 7 to Al Aridha.