World Bulletin/News Desk
Tunisia's national assembly on Thursday approved a new electoral law, to take one of the last steps in the country's move to full democracy after the 2011 uprising that inspired the "Arab Spring" revolts.
Passing the law allows electoral authorities to set a date for the first election since the North African state adopted a new constitution that has been praised as a model of democratic transition in the Arab world.
Members of the 217-seat assembly voted 132 in favour and 11 against the new electoral law.
"This is an important step," said Mehrzia Labidi, vice president of the assembly.
With its new constitution and a caretaker administration governing until elections later this year, Tunisia's relatively smooth progress contrasts with the turmoil in Egypt, Libya and Yemen, which also ousted long-standing leaders three years ago.
Ennahda won the first free election after Ben Ali's fall and formed the first government, but the assassination of two secular opposition leaders triggered political crisis.
The electoral law debate was clouded by disagreements over a proposed measure that would have excluded former Ben Ali officials from running for office. The Nidaa Tounes movement is headed by a former parliament speaker under Ben Ali.
"The rejection of political explusion sends a strong message that our revolution continues, without revenge," said Khemais Kessila, of Nidaa Tounes. "It shows that we are avoiding any divisions."
Battling militants and tackling public spending to reduce the deficit are two major challenges for the caretaker government of Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa, who has been welcomed by international partners and financial lenders.
Last Mod: 01 Mayıs 2014, 23:09