26 C
Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Tunisia parliament pass law barring leading presidential candidate

Tunisia’s parliament passed an amendment to its electoral law on Tuesday that would bar businessman Nabil Karoui, owner of a private TV station critical of the government, from running for president in a vote expected later this year. 

The amendment says that Tunisia’s elections commission must reject candidates who benefit from “charitable associations” or foreign funding during the year before an election. 

In April, police stormed the offices of Karoui’s Nesma television station and took it off the air over accusations it had breached broadcasting rules, which Nesma called a move to silence its voice criticizing the government. 

Karoui, who polls show to be in the lead in the presidential campaign, ahead of the prime minister and incumbent president, described parliament’s action on Tuesday as “a strong setback to nascent democracy”. 

“It is a law dedicated to my exclusion from the race after polls revealed that millions of Tunisians intend to vote for me,” Karoui said. 

Karoui founded the Khalil Tounes Foundation in 2017 to provide aid to the needy in the economically troubled North African country and the charity garnered widespread publicity thanks to coverage by Nesma. 

The police raid in April followed the revocation of the Nesma channel’s licence last year by broadcasting regulator HAICA. It fined Nesma for broadcasts the body described as exploiting poor people and promoting Karoui’s political agenda. 

Nesma rejected the fines and said it did not recognize the rulings by HAICA, which it said were motivated by the broadcaster’s criticism of the government. 

The government, a coalition of the secular Tahya Tounes party and the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, has denied any responsibility for rulings by the HAICA. 

Nesma has since resumed broadcasting without a license and police to date have taken no further action. 

Government spokesman Iyad Dahmani said political parties had been banned from receiving support from charities or foreign funds since 2014, and Tuesday’s decision had extended the measure to independents like Karoui “to protect democracy”. 

Parliamentary elections are expected to be held on Oct. 6 with a presidential vote following on Nov. 17. 

Among the declared presidential candidates are Hamadi Jbeli, the former Islamist prime minister, and Karoui. 

Tunisia has been hailed as the only democratic success of the Arab Spring uprisings against dictatorship, with a new constitution and free elections in 2011 and 2014. 

But political progress has not been matched by economic advances. Unemployment stands at about 15 percent, up from 12 percent in 2010, due to weak growth and low investment.

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Latest News

Ethiopia’s Sidama vote on autonomy in latest test for restive regions

Polls opened on Wednesday for Ethiopia’s Sidama people to vote on self-determination in a referendum closely watched by other ethnic groups also seeking more...

Botswana teenager charged for likening First lady to a comedian

A Botswana teenager has been charged with likening the First Lady, Neo Masisi to a local comedian called William Motsetserepa in a Facebook post,...

Liberia and Ivory Coast sign MOU to promote trade

The Governments of Liberia and Ivory Coast have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to help promote trade and economic cooperation between the two...

Refugees removed from UNHCR office in S/Africa arraigned – no lawyers and no bail

189 refugees and asylum seekers were arraigned in the Pretoria Magistrate's Court on Monday after they entered the premises of the United Nations High...

1,100 Africans applying for legal status arrested in U.S.

About 1,100 undocumented Africans living in the United States were among thousands of immigrants arrested while applying for legal status to avoid deportation and...

Candidates ramp up campaign ahead of Guinea-Bissau presidential elections

Elections are less than a week away in Guinea Bissau, where residents are hoping to emerge from years of political stagnation. On November 24,...

U.S. blacklists former Kenyan attorney general over corruption allegations

The United States on Monday imposed sanctions on Kenya’s former attorney general, Amos Sitswila Wako, accusing him of involvement in “significant” corruption, according to...

Mali solders suffer heavy casualty again; 24 killed, 29 injured

Twenty-four Malian soldiers were killed and 29 wounded when militants attacked a patrol in northern Mali on Monday, a spokesman for the army has...

Niger’s Hama Amadou returns to jail ahead of 2020 presidential bid

Niger’s main opposition leader Hama Amadou is back behind bars after returning home from three years exile in France with the intention of completing...

UN envoy berates foreign interference after air strikes on Libya factory

The UN's Libya envoy pleaded with foreign actors to honor an arms embargo on the conflict-torn country as he said an attack on a...

More Articles Like This

- Advertisement -
%d bloggers like this: