Tunisian Premier Says Election Delayed Until Oct. 23

Tunisia will delay its first election since a revolt forced the president from power to Oct. 23, Interim Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi said.

“We were faced with two choices: to hold elections on July 24 under the supervision of the Interior Ministry or to postpone them to have a transparent and fair vote,” he told reporters in Tunis today. The electoral committee asked for the delay “for technical reasons.”

Most members of an electoral committee argued in May for a delay because of problems such as voting cards and recruiting and training of the necessary staff, according to the state-run TAP news agency. Kamel Jandoubi, who heads the panel, had proposed postponing the elections until Oct. 16, saying there wasn’t enough time to ensure transparent elections.

The constituent assembly will draft a new constitution for the North African nation, where protests forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee in January and inspired anti-government demonstrations in Arab countries including Libya, Bahrain, Syria, Yemen and Egypt, where an uprising unseated President Hosni Mubarak.

(Corrects original date of vote in second paragraph.)
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