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Michael Gahler (EPP, DE), head of the European Parliament delegation observing the parliamentary elections in Tunisia, on Tuesday welcomed the "remarkable success of the Independent High Authority for the Elections, which organised a transparent, professional poll in a very short space of time."

Speaking in Tunis at Tuesday's press conference by the head of the EU Election Observation Mission, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck (ADLE, BE), Mr Gahler praised the "frank and open" dialogue with the leaders of the main political parties in discussions with the EP delegation. He underlined their commitment to "recognising the legitimacy of the electoral process and the outcome of the poll".

"On polling day, 26 October, the EP delegation observed that officials from the political parties and national observers were present at the polling stations it visited, which is a key condition for any democratic election," Mr Gahler said.

"Nonetheless, my colleagues and I had the impression that not many young people turned out to vote despite the fact that there were a number of young people among the observers from the political parties and the national observers," he added.

The EP delegation noted reports that Tunisians voting abroad experienced some difficulties in some EU countries, although the EU's election observation mission did not follow polling outside Tunisia.

Mr Gahler concluded: "These parliamentary elections are the first stage and will be followed by presidential elections. It is now up to Tunisia's new parliament to meet the democratic and social aspirations of the Tunisian people. The new Assembly of People's Representatives, as well as Tunisian civil society, can count on the continued commitment of the European Union and in particular the European Parliament."

Mr Gahler headed the seven-member delegation from the European Parliament which also included: Antonio PanzerI (S&D, IT), Elena Valenciano Martínez-Orozco (S&D, ES), Marie-Christine Vergiat (GUE/NGL, FR), Jordi Sebastià (Greens/EFA, ES), Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD, IT) and Nicolas Bay (NI, FR).