Tunisia sets dates for autumn elections

The country must hold legislative elections between October and December

Tunisian President of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) Nabil Baffoun (R) gives a press conference to release the dates of the legislative and presidential 2019 elections on March 6, 2019 in Tunis. / AFP / FETHI BELAID
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Tunisia will hold parliamentary elections on October 6 and presidential polls on November 10, the electoral commission has said, the third round of national voting since the country's 2011 revolution.

If a presidential candidate does not win outright in the first round, a second round will follow within two weeks, the commission said on Wednesday.

Under its 2014 constitution, Tunisia must hold legislative elections within two months of parliament's mandate expiring –between October and early December.

The country whose uprising toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and sparked a series of uprisings has been hailed as a model of democratisation in the Arab world, but continues to suffer economic woes and attacks by extremists.

The powerful UGTT trade union confederation has staged a series of crippling strikes since late last year over social and economic reforms, while youth employment remains high and inflation is at 7.5 per cent.

The Constitutional Court, which would be crucial if election results were challenged, has not yet been formed, to the anger of civil society.

Previous polls held in 2014 brought to power Beji Caid Essebsi, the country's first democratically elected president.