Libyan and Tunisian Election Commissions Sign Memorandum of Understanding with IFES Support
On September 26, 2016, the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), under the U.S. Agency for International Development-funded “Libya Elections Governance Support” project, held an event for the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Libyan High National Elections Commission (HNEC) and the Tunisian Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). IFES worked with the ISIE and HNEC to orchestrate the signing ceremony, which was hosted by the Tunisian election management body (EMB) at its headquarters in the center of Tunis. The ceremony was attended by members of both EMBs, media from both countries and a representative from the Tunisian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The MoU creates a formal basis for cooperation between the two institutions and to nurture regional exchange of knowledge and experiences. It is the first bilateral MoU signed between EMBs in the Middle East and North Africa. During the ceremony, HNEC Chairman Dr. Emad Alsaiah and ISIE President Chafik Sarsar, winner of IFES’ 2016 Joe C. Baxter Award, both spoke to the relevance and importance of such an agreement between the two bodies, citing the need to learn from one another. President Chafik stated that this long overdue MoU will allow the bodies to coordinate and cooperate especially in terms of staff training and electoral observation. To that end, Dr. Alsaiah announced the EMBs will jointly produce an annual plan for cooperation, which will identify programmatic areas for cooperation.
Following the official signing ceremony, which was extensively covered by both Tunisian and Libyan media, representatives of the two institutions met to discuss concrete steps to put the MoU into action, speaking already of potential collaboration on the upcoming elections in Tunisia on October 23, 2016 for the High Judicial Council. IFES Libya and IFES Tunisia participated in this meeting and expressed support of the signing and readiness to support future joint activities, which both EMBs welcomed willingly.