Image: Minister of Local Affairs, Youssef Chahed speaks to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People (ARP) May 24 | Source: ARP Facebook
Tunisia’s Minister of Local Affairs, Youssef Chahed, on Wednesday, May 25, in Tunis announced some details of a program to expand the coverage of Tunisia’s municipal system of local government. The finalization of municipal boundaries is a prerequisite for the holding of Municipal Elections which have not been held since the 2011 Tunisian Revolution and are tentatively scheduled for March of 2017.
According to Minister of Local Affairs, Youssef Chahed:
- Decisions on redrawing municipal boundaries involved not only demographics but the consideration of factors such as basic infrastructure and active economic and social structures.
- The municipal coverage project will affect 3.5 million people through the creation of 61 new municipalities which would increase the number of Tunisian municipalities to 350.
- The governorates of Sidi Bouzid, Kairouan, Jendouba and Kasserine will be the most affected by changes.
- A budget of 2.6 million TND was allocated to the financing the municipal project in 2016, and the Tunisian government is in talks with the European Commission to provide an additional 6.5 million TND to help finance the new municipalities.
Five years after the 2011 Tunisian Revolution, local municipal governments continue to be run be Special Delegations appointed by the Ministry of Local Affairs, which itself had been a State Secretary position within the Ministry of the Interior until Prime Minister Essid both abolished the cabinet level status of the State Secretary posts and promoted Local Affairs to a Ministerial position in a government reshuffle in January of this year.
The reforming of the municipal system is one of two prerequisite conditions, along with approval by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People of a draft law governing elections, for the holding of Municipal Elections.
Until elections local government officials will continue to be answerable to Tunis rather than those they govern.
After a meeting with Prime Minister Habib Essid at the Kasbah on Friday, May 13, Chafik Sarsar president of the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE-l’Instance supérieure indépendante pour les élections) announced March 26, 2017 had been chosen a preliminary date for municipal elections.