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Home arrow newsitems arrow EU Parliament Maghreb Committee: Tunisian People deserve a Real Choice on Alternatives in 2019 Votes

EU Parliament Maghreb Committee: Tunisian People deserve a Real Choice on Alternatives in 2019 Votes

Written by ACM
Thursday, 14 June 2018

 

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*Strasbourg/EU-Parliament/Angelo Marcopolo/- Stressing the Importance of the forthcoming Parliamentary and Presidential Elections in Tunisia on 2019, EU Parliament's competent Committee on Maghreb Countries launched a stern Warning, in substance, that the People of one among the  Countries which are Closest to Europe, (Both Historically, GeoPoliticaly and by Recent Policy Decisions),  have an Urgent and Serious Need to Prepare Well the Crucial, forthcoming, Presidential and Pariamentarian, Elections of 2019, Because, Otherwise, in Practice, they Risk to have No Real Choice between Alternative Policies, (See Infra), Contrary to what is an elementary Principle in any real Democracy.

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Tunisia notoriously is the Cradle of "Arab Spring", the Country with a "Model" Constitution since 2014 (See Infra), Proud to have an Ancient Civilisation since the 8th Century Before Christ, which Spread at Both Sides : North and South of the Mediterranean Sea during the 3rd and 2nd Centuries BC, (f.ex. also in Sicily, Corsica, Balear Islands, Sardaigne, Gibraltar, Spain, etc), while Hannibal notoriously crossed the Swiss Alps Mountains, reaching even Rome's surrounding area. After becoming the Precious "Grenary" of the Roman Empire, in a Strategic position Later Revendicated even by the Byzantine Empire, the Normands, France, and various others in the Past, and, following National Independence and Modernisation under President Bourguiba, Tunis Hosted UNO's World Internet Forum (after Geneva, and before Athens) at the Beginning of 2000ies, while Tunisia recently Compeets with Morocco for the Most Linked to EU/CoE among South Mediterranean Countries, and its NGOs were Recently Awarded the prestigious NOBEL Peace Prize on 2015.

 

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So that several MEPs' Denunciations of current Risks for a "Silent", Abstentionist 2/3 Majority of Tunisian People to be Obliged to have No real Choice soon, but to Fall in the Hands of one or another, more or less Radical, "Islamist" Party, pushed by Less of a 1/3 Minority, linked to Controversial "Muslim Brotherhood" (often accused even for Terrorism), and reportedly subordinated to the Foreign Influence of the (even more Controversial) ...Turkish President Tayip Erdogan's oppressive regime, (etc), as if Tunisia had Fallen Back in the Medieval Era of a mere Subordinate Local Part of the Former Othoman-Turk Empire, naturally provokes serious Concerns to European politicians, who Urged Today for EU Help (including, mainly Economic) to a Democratic Tunisia, (See Infra).

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 - It all Started with an Announcement, by the EU Chief Observer on Tunisia, and EU Parliament's vice-President, Italian MEP Fabio Massimo Castaldo, from the Biggest Political Party in the New Government in Rome, (the "5 Stars Movement", Member of the "Freedom and Direct Democracy" Group in EU Parliament),  who spoke about a "Strong Will" by the Tunisian Parliament to "Ensure" an "Operational and Independent" Institutional Framework, particularly "for the Presidential Elections of 2019", in order "not to Call in Question the Trust on the Constitution"" :

 

-"A Model Text", of "High Quality", since the Historic Reform of "2014", in the Country which is the Birthplace of the "Arab Spring", he topically reminded.((omp., inter alia, f.ex. : the Replies to "Eurofora"s Questions by the President of the Tunisian Constituent Assembly, Ben Jafaar, as early as since already 2012, at : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisianrevolutionideasondemocracy.html, but also : http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/sarkozymediterraneanrenaissance.html + http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/egyptetunisiangos.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/laurenstunisiamoroccodemocracyforum.html, http://www.eurofora.net/newsflashes/news/tunisiaconsuloneufaireconomyandconstitution.html etc)

 

 

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 => - For that purpose, among others,  a "Constitutional Court" is due to "be Up and Running" Soon, in order "to Ensure full Compliance" with the Constitution, and help for any relevant "Crisis to be Resorbed", while EU Chief Observer, EU Parliament's vice-President Castaldo has already scheduled to personally "Go to Tunisia on July" 2018.

 

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The Occasion to Open a Debate in EU Parliament on the forthcoming, Crucial Parliamentary and Presidential Tunisian Elections of 2019 in Tunisia, was given, Today, by a scheduled Discussion of a "Report on the Local Elections", recently held in Tunisia on May 2018, which served as a real-time Testbed to take the pulse of the Political Life in that Key Country nowadays, (Comp. Infra).


- Thus, inter alia, f.ex., MEPs Observed that, while 42% of the Population is Under - 34 Years Old, and Many Young Candidates had been among those Standing to be Elected in 2018, Nevertheless,  at a National Level, Country-Wide, the Turnout of Young People in order to Vote in these Elections was particularly Low. This could be due also to the Fact that 30% of Young People in Tunisia are Graduates, but Jobless, and this might impact also on the Next Elections, as a French MEP pointed out.


+ But, Moreover, it was Only about 1/3 (One Third) of the Registered Voters who actually Casted their Vote in the Ballot Box on 2018, while the Tunisian "People are Fed up with the Political Class" of the Establishment in general, as EU Parliament's vice-President Castaldo had already observed from the outset.


- Even if he Noted, as far as the Conditions in which those Local Elections were held, that, despite "some" secondary problems, in general, they were "a Real Step Forward" for Democracy in Tunisia, (especially Compared to the Past, and  considering also the Fact that the relevant Law on Local DeCentralisation had been Just Adopted, Shortly Before the Elections).


=> But their Outcome presents "2 Problems", Critically observed another MEP : First, it shows that "Democracy is still Fragile" in Tunisia, Because "2/3 of the People Abstained". Moreover, those who Snaped Most of the Votes were from an "Islamist Party close to (the Turkish President) Erdogan", he pointed out. And this even included "a Preacher who has been OutLawed in France, Banned even in Egypt : his own Country, and put at a "Wanted" List by InterPol. I.e. something which "gives you the Shivers !"


>>> Therefore, "Tunisia, which is, perhaps, the Only Country in that area that has a Chance to Activate Democracy, Must get Help from EU Parliament", he concluded.


+ AnOther (Lady) MEP denounced also the Fact that a "Leading" Candidate in a Major List on 2018 had been "Campaigning Against the Celibacy of Women", while, "in the HeadQuarters" of a Major Political Party, "Only Men were visible", while, on the Contrary, "All Women were Hidden Behind a Screen !". In consequence, "we (EU) must be Carefull against any hypocritical Double-Talk" and "Vigilant", she urged.


=> That's why in Tunisia, "the Fight Against Political Islam" is linked with Efforts to Help its "Economy", and calls for "a New Economic Development", and this should, normally, "Incite EU Commission" to act, stressed in substance anOther MEP. But, "is EU Commission really Playing the Game", or, perhaps, "Tunisia might be the Victim" of 1 or 2 Commissioners' Policy ?, he Questioned, while Urging to "Re-Balance" EU's policies, in this regard.


- Indeed, even "in Europe, Democracy wasn't Built in just 4 Years" (i.e. as, for Tunisia, between the New Constitution of 2014 and the Local Elections of 2018 : Comp. Supra), "but We too Needed even several Decades", pointed out anOther MEP, Concluding that "EU must Help Tunisia", "particularly in Financial terms", and "Be Present in the Tunisian Economy".


- "EU Must be Vigilant", because we Already shaw Abstention Grow in Morocco on 2016, and now "Fragilise Democracy in Tunisia" on 2018, observed anOther MEP, who Urged for "Europe to Help Tunisia" on Time, in the current run up to the "Important Parliamentarty and Presidential Elections of 2019".


 - Particularly since a "Worrying Division" surfaces when State "Power is at Stake", especially by a "Political Islam", "Historically Close to "Muslim Brothers", close to Erdogan, i.e. Turkey", that MEP too Warned.


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>>> Thus, "those currently in Power in Tunisia, should Not be Afraid to have Other, Democratic Interlocutors", and, instead of "Muzzling" several parts of the Country's "Civil Society", they'd Better enter in Dialogue with them, (f.ex., "Trade Unions", "NGOs", etc).

 

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- In this regard, the Head of EU Parliament's Election Observation Delegation for Tunisia, Experienced Spanish ChristianDemocrat/EPP MEP Santiago Fisas Ayxela, observed, However, that "about 1.000 Electoral Lists" were made by "Small Parties", and "the Biggest Group (of Candidates) were Independents". (Even if several were "Not Really Independents", but, in Fact, linked to "Big Political Parties", which attempted to "get around" the Law about ..."Women's Participation", as also Castaldo had observed, who had called them "Fake Civil Society Lists").


+ But it's also "Women (who) are an Important factor", he noted, Pointing at the potential "Role of Women" also "as a Guarantee of Democracy" : Particularly "Tunisian Women will Not let be Abused" by anyone !


 -  As for "the Army, it's pro-Democracy, and at the orders of the Government", Fisas Ayxela added.


- However, "the Problem is that Secular politicians are still Divided", while "some Personalities of the Ancient Regime re-surfaced' at the latest Vote, EU Parliament's Election Observation team's Head regretted.

 

- Meanwhile,  "the Situation is Not Easy at (Neighbouring) Libya", with more than "1 Million of Refugees", and "a List of Moderates, but also with Radicalized" politicians, in Addition to "Difficulties at the Borders of (the other Neighbouring Country) Algeria", including even Terrorism, he Warned.


=> Thus, we'd better see, in Tunisia, several "Real Independents", possibly, enter in some kind of "Coalitions", the Mainstream MEP concluded in substance.


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 - The President of EU Parliament's Delegation to Maghreb Countries, MEP Inés Ayala Sender, from the Governing Socialist Party in Portugal, observed, in fine, that "a Handicap" for the Latest, 2018 Local Elections was the Fact that too "Many People were Selected for numerous (Electoral) Lists", while, on the Contrary, they had "a Low Turnout".


>>> Moreover, "If Both the 2 Major Parties refer to a Religious Manifestos", then, in real practice, "there is No Alternative" for the People of Tunisia !", she Denounced.


=> Therefore, someone needs "to Give to the People a Real Choice" on 2019, ("if not, they would disengage" from mainstream Politics), President Ayala Sender urged.


- In this regard, she observed that, even if it had been proven in 2018 to be "Difficult for Young People to Mobilize" (Comp. Supra), Nevertheless, there was also an "Encouraging" Development, in the Fact that there were "Many Independent Lists" (Comp. Supra), and, therefore, "New Candidates may come in" on 2019, including "Many (former) Independents".


- Thus, in substance, "the Challenge is How We (i.e. the EU) can Support those People", she resumed.


>>> And, "Now, that we (EU) are currently Opening the Fight over the Multi-Annual Financial Perspectives", including with "New Aides extended during many Years", etc.,

 

=> in order to "Prepare for the (Tunisian, Presidential and Parliamentary) Elections of Next Year (2019), "it's Important for the EU to Give some Clear and Robust Signals to Tunisia !", the President of EU Parliament's competent Committee concluded.

 

 

(../..)



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(NDLR : "DraftNews", as already send, Earlier, to "Eurofora" Subscribers/Donors. A more accurate, full Final Version, might be published asap)

 

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They voted to "freeze" UK Government's draft to put People in jail for 42 Days on "anti-terrorist" suspicion without charge, or they abstained. Don't they look suspect ?
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CoE's debate on UK controversy stirs PanEuropean check of anti-terror suspects' imprisonment

Former Leftists of the Sixties would boil in hot water if they heard PACE's debate on the controversial 42 days detention without charge, currently drafted by the British Government :

A "Socialist" Government, a Socialist PACE Rapporteur and a Socialist Chair of PACE's Legal Committee, opposed a .. "Conservative" amendment (supported by .. Liberals, Democrats, etc), to freeze the measure, in order to protect Citizens' Freedom, by "waiting" until CoE's Venice Committee checks its conformity with Human Rights' principles.

"Left"'s support to Conservative-Lib.Dem's criticism, wasn't enough to obtain a majority, nor to make things as they were back in the good old days, when "Left" and "Right" had a clear meaning, as "liberty" and "restrictions"...

Conservatives and most Democrats were joined by the Left in voting for the "freeze", as well as Liberal Paul Rowen, while Socialist MEP Ivan Popescu, an experienced MEP from Ukraine (PACE Member since 1996-2008) abstained. But most Socialists, added to a few Liberals and EPP's Right, voted against.

Fortunately, someone inside PACE had the wise idea to shorten the Debate for less than 1 Hour, and put it on the Agenda only at the end of an exceptionally busy day, towards the end of the Evening, when most MEPs had already gone to taste wins and foods at various Receptions all around Strasbourg's "European" area : As a result, not even 42 MEPs weren't present..

Socialist Lord Tomlinson accused the leaders of the PanEuropean Assembly, in its highest body : the "Bureau", to "lack wisdom" by deciding to hold a Debate on an issue that neither the Socialist Chair of the Legal Committee, nor its Socialist "reluctant Rapporteur", did "not want to do", ...

tomllinson

Finally, everybody (critics and supporters alike) was happy to agree, in substance, that the controversial measure "may" gravely violate Human Rights, and therefore, PACE asked Legal Experts of Venice Commission to check UK Government''s plans.

But this might take more than .. 42 Days to do, since PACE's Rapporteur asked the Experts to enlarge their study in a PanEuropean comparison of all that is happening on "anti-terrorism" legislation in 47 CoE Member Countries, including Russia, Turkey and Azerbaidjan..

Bad lack : "The existing 28 days’ detention without charge in the UK is, in comparison with other CoE member countries, one of the most extreme : In Turkey, the period is 7,5 days, in France 6 days, in Russia 5 days, and in .. the U.S. and Canada just 2 and 1 days respectively", denounced Democrat MEP Ms WOLDSETH from Norway..

woldsteth

"Numerous respected human rights organisations, including Liberty and Human Rights Watch, have expressed serious concern" "The proposed legislation ...could easily lead to extensive abuses. ...Detention for 42 days means six weeks in which one is taken away from one’s family, friends, home and livelihood only to be let off without being charged. That will destroy lives and isolate communities", she added.

- "3 years ago, the UK Government sought to increase the period of pre-charge detention from 14 days to 90 days. Not long before that, it had been only 7 days. There was a vigorous debate ...and a ...compromise was reached of 28 days. We have to ask whether there are proper safeguards in place to extend the period to 42 days. I suggest that there are fatal flaws", reminded British Conservative Clappison.

- "What sort of society holds someone in detention for 42 days and does not have to tell the person who is in prison why they are there, or explain the suspicions that arose and led to their detention? What sort of society believes that that is the way to treat its citizens? That is an appalling injustice, ...A 42-day detention period will not make the UK safer. Instead, it will be the first step to giving in to terrorists; it is saying that we are prepared to sacrifice our democratic rights and the principles for which we have stood for centuries", criticized British Liberal Michael Hanckock

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"Comments made ...by Norwegian delegates are unfortunate", replied British Socialist MEP Ms.Curtis-Thomas, accusing them to "besmirch the reputation of our police force, which is one of the Best in the World", as she said, believing that "there are significant safeguards ...to ensure that individuals are not subjected to unlawful detention"

curtis

PACE "has serious doubts whether ...the draft legislation are in conformity with the ...case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. A lack of ..safeguards may lead to arbitrariness, resulting in breaches of ... liberty and ...right to a fair trial". PACE "is particularly concerned that: ..the judge ..may not be in a position to examine whether there exist reasonable grounds for suspecting that the arrested person has committed an offence;"; that "... representation by a lawyer may be inappropriately restricted or delayed;" that "information on the grounds for suspicion of a person ...may be unduly withheld.. ;" that this "may give rise to arrests without the intention to charge;", and; in general, that "prolonged detention without proper information on the grounds for arrest may constitute inhuman treatment", says Klaus De Vries' Report, adopted with 29 votes against zero.

vries

Records don't say if it took him 42 Days to draft his Report, but, at least, he knew why...

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