Participants in the seminar
Participants in the seminar

On 8 and 9 July 2019, the IRZ in collaboration with the Tunisian Administrative Court organised a seminar entitled "Electoral complaints and the legal assessment of election results in the case of election disputes". The opening address at the event was delivered by the President of the Tunisian Administrative Court, Abdessalem Mehdi Grissia. The seminar in Tunis was designed to address judges of the Tunisian Administrative Court, journalists and academics.

In addition to IRZ expert Dr. Lars Brocker, President of the Constitutional Court of Rhineland-Palatinate and President of the Higher Administrative Court of Rhineland-Palatinate, Presidents of the Chambers of the Tunisian Administrative Court spoke on the role and jurisdiction of administrative courts with respect to electoral law issues.

In his two presentations, Dr. Brocker informed the audience about the powers and authority of judges in election disputes in Germany. Among other things, he drew attention to the fact that election disputes (with the exception of municipal elections) in Germany are decided by the constitutional courts. According to Dr. Brocker, one of the key tasks of judges presiding over such disputes is to ensure that power struggles between political forces are carried out and resolved in a fair manner while at the same time intervening as little as possible.

In addition, Dr. Brocker stressed that the guiding principle in Germany is to ensure stability as the supreme priority. It would be better to have an incorrectly convened parliament, for instance, than to lack a properly functioning legislature. The power vacuum resulting from this would entail risks and pose a threat to the stability of the country.

The Tunisian speakers focused primarily on new developments in the Tunisian legal system since 2011. They stated that the judicial system was still under construction and that the responsibilities of individual courts had not yet been completely clarified. In particular, they noted that there is a need for advice with regard to the review of elections, which in Tunisia is in the charge of the administrative courts. It is still unclear, for example, whether administrative courts may ban political parties.

On the whole, the seminar was marked by numerous discussions and a lively exchange of opinion. The subject was also of particular interest to the Tunisian side, as both parliamentary and presidential elections are scheduled to be held in the autumn of this year, which will constitute an important step in Tunisia's political future.

The seminar was held within the framework of a project promoting judicial reform in Tunisia, which is taking place from 2017 to the end of 2019 with the support of the German Federal Foreign Office.