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Tunisia: Some 1,080 Candidates With Disabilities Vie for 279 Seats in Local Elections

The number of candidates with disabilities for local council elections has reached 1,080, vying for 279 seats through stortition during the elections of December 24, 2023, President of the Tunisian Organisation for the Defence of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Yosry Mazzati said on Monday.

Women with disabilities represent 13.9% of the total candidates, while youth (under 35 years) make up 22% of the overall candidate pool.

Speaking at a press conference held on Monday, Mazzati underscored that 92% of electoral districts recorded the candidacy of more than two persons with disabilities.

The organisation reported several shortcomings in the areas and reception centres for candidates, including the near absence of sign language interpreters in 93% of the application centres. Moreover, 74% of the centres lack special indications for persons with disabilities, and 44% of them do not provide clear directions to the candidacy reception desk.

For 21% of candidates with disabilities, the legislative framework governing the elections is deemed unclear. According to the organisation’s report on the observation of the candidacy presentation stage for local council elections, 40% of them believe that the drawing lots marginalises competence and does not rely on merit.

The Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) disclosed on Monday that out of the 1,080 candidacies submitted by persons with disabilities, 1,028 were accepted, 48 files were rejected, and 4 individuals withdrew voluntarily.

Article 27 of the decree-law No. 2023-10 dated March 8, 2023, regulating local council elections and the composition of regional councils and districts, stipulates one seat in each local council for persons with disabilities. This category of candidates is not required to gather the necessary endorsements or conduct an electoral campaign.

According to the spokesperson for the ISIE Tlili Mnasri, 7,217 candidates for local elections, out of 7,777 who submitted a dossier, have been approved. Some 542 files were rejected, and 18 candidates withdrew voluntarily, he told TAP on Monday.

Source: Zawya