March 6, 2019 / 2:32 PM / 2 months ago

Tunisia to hold autumn parliamentary and presidential elections

Tunisia's president of the independent electoral committee ''ISIE'' Nabil Bafoun attends a news conference in Tunis, Tunisia, March 6, 2019. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi

TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia will hold a parliamentary election on Oct. 6 and a presidential election starting on Nov. 10, the Electoral Commission said on Wednesday.

They will be the third set of polls in which Tunisians can vote freely following the 2011 revolution that toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

“Parliamentary elections will be on Oct. 6 and the first presidential round will be on Nov. 10,” said Nabil Bafoun, the president of the independent electoral committee ISIE.

The parliamentary race is expected to be fought closely by the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, the more secular Tahya Tounes party of Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, and the Nidaa Tounes party led by Hafedh Caid Essebsi, the president’s son.

They rule the North African country together but their coalition has been hit by infighting that has hampered decision-making and slowed economic reforms demanded by foreign donors.

No-one has yet declared their candidacy for presidency.

Tunisia has won widespread praise for its democratic transition since 2011, but nine cabinets have failed to resolve economic problems that include high inflation and unemployment.

The slow progress on reforms has been criticised by lenders such as the International Monetary Fund which have helped keep the country afloat.

Reporting By Tarek Amara; Editing by Catherine Evans

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