IFES has supported the Tunisian electoral authorities in preparation for the country’s first free and fair multiparty elections for a National Constituent Assembly (NCA). This newly elected body is charged with writing a new constitution for the country.
Under a program funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative, IFES, in partnership with the Swiss media organization, Fondation Hirondelle, is implementing a two-year program entitled Public Information and Outreach Administration Assistance to the Tunisian Election Authorities, that: (1) supports the development and costs of comprehensive multi-media public information/outreach and voter education campaigns by the Instance Supérieure Indépendante pour les Élections (ISIE) and subsequent election management bodies (EMB); (2) supports the development and costs of creating official websites of the ISIE/EMB and the National Constituent Assembly (NCA); (3) provides expert input and comparative practice to the NCA to better inform political and electoral reforms; and (4) initiates a train-the-trainer program for poll workers in advance of the NCA elections.
IFES is also conducting project activities in Tunisia under a second program funded by USAID entitled Electoral and Political Assessment and Support. The programs seeks to: (1) Support the Tunisian authorities in steps towards creation of an election management body that can ensure credible and competitive elections within the appropriate timeframe; (2) provide capacity for the Tunisian authorities to effectively manage credible, competitive and neutral elections.; support the Tunisian government and electoral authorities in establishing a reliable, inclusive, and accurate voter registry; (3) enhance transparency and accessibility in the work of the election administration; and (4) enable effective assessment and evaluation of the constituent assembly elections in order to support on-going improvements in the capacity of the election administration and reform for electoral processes in Tunisia.
Electoral Assessments: IFES was one of the first international organizations to work with Tunisia’s transitional government to conduct an on-the-ground assessment of the electoral environment in January 2011. IFES also conducted a post-election technical assessment to evaluate the conduct of the recently-held NCA elections and identify needs of the future election management body.
Public Information & Outreach: IFES helped the ISIE create and print voter education materials for the NCA elections, including 10,000 posters and two million flyers. IFES’ subgrantee Fondation Hirondelle assisted Radio Tunisienne in creating a website on electoral programming and an Election Charter to establish reporting standards for radio stations covering elections. IFES also conducted a survey to gather stakeholder opinions on electoral reform and plans to conduct a public opinion survey to gauge voter understanding and confidence in the electoral process.
Capacity Building: IFES conducted four training sessions on electoral topics for civil society organizations, regional election commissions and 170 master poll worker trainers. IFES has worked closely with the Tunisian electoral commission, the Instance Supérieure Indépendante pour les Élections (ISIE), by providing technical advice on electoral processes, electoral reform and voter registration. IFES also helped develop content for the ISIE website and printed 35,000 polling manuals.
Media Center: IFES assisted the ISIE in establishing a media center. The media center centralized the dissemination of election-related information for the NCA elections, accredited more than 2,700 journalists and provided them with the resources necessary to file their stories.