Presidential election in Tunisia: understanding the stakes of the election in seven priority projects - JeuneAfrique.com

The next president will face major challenges for the future of the country. Here are some of the most urgent ones.

It's often a story of numbers. No doubt here more than elsewhere. First 26, like the number of presidential candidates. Then the 2, like the number of laps to decide between them. The latest polls show a fragmented opinion, torn between personalities on the antipodes ... and often similar projects.

Substantive topics are not lacking, however. Because if Tunisia has confirmed since 2011 its status as a democratic exception in the Arab world, it is at a crossroads with endemic unemployment - 15,5% at the end of 2018 - a worrying debt - more than 71% of GDP -, glaring territorial inequalities, fragile institutions and a damaged social link. Time is running out: once installed in Carthage, the next President will face, in emergency, seven major challenges. Seven as the seven million voters called this September 15 for the first round.

1. Consolidate institutions

When adopting the new Constitution, the 26 January 2014, by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC). © Aimen Zine / AP / SIPA

Construction started by the late Beji Caid Essebsi, the construction of constitutional institutions is still not effective. Deprived of the instances it has itself consecrated, the Constitution of 27 January 2014 has a taste of unfinished business. The most striking example of this faltering process is the absence of a Constitutional Court. Court to interpret the Basic Law and body empowered to dismiss the President of the Republic in case of "manifest violation of the Constitution", the Court was to be set up in 2015. Four years later, the Assembly of People's Representatives (ARP) still failed to agree on the identity of four of the future constitutional judges. Guarantor of the unity of the state and its continuity, the future president will have to use his authority to agree the various political actors.

The 2014 Constitution endorsed the creation of five other independent constitutional bodies: the election bodyaudiovisual communication, human rights, sustainable development and the rights of future generations, and the forum for good governance and the fight against corruption. All have administrative and financial autonomy from the supervisory authorities. The goal: to guarantee counter-powers to the executive.

Five years after the entry into force of the new Constitution, the instance of audiovisual communication and that relating to good governance and the fight against corruption have not yet emerged. It will be up to the next head of state to urge MEPs to speed up the process. Finally, the constituents - in the text of 2014 - had made the choice to encourage decentralization. The basic norm thus requires the election of municipal and regional councils and the establishment of district councils. For now, only municipal councils were elected during the tenure of Caid Essesbsi. The rest is, again, bequeathed to the successor of the latter.

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