The vote and Tunisia’s youth


Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party in Tunisia, gained power in the first free election since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was ousted. They eventually handed over power to a caretaker government which marked a milestone for North Africa generally and Tunisia’s democratic transition specifically. A constitution was established early this year and after extensive negotiation, the National Constituent Assembly decided that on October 26, 2014, the Parliamentary elections would be held and on November 23rd, the Presidential vote would follow. While the world looks to Tunisia as a marker of hope for the Arab world’s transition, the Tunisian youth are less certain. Post-revolutionary Tunisia is riddled with arbitrary arrests which come from Law 52/1992. This law gives the police the right to sentence a citizen to 1-5 years of prison time for being found in possession of (or having consumed) narcotics. This law was historically abused to quiet the outspoken youth during Ben Ali’s dictatorship.

On the one hand, the youth think boycotting the elections might work. On the other, The Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE) and the Association Tunisienne pour l’integrite et la democratie des elections (ATIDE) are doing their best to increase election participation. The challenge is real, however, because the youth are simply uninterested in the elections. They do not feel the weight or severity because they lack trust in the system. The youth argue that all of the political parties have no intention of listening to their voice. Some think change through voting, though, is the only way thusly giving space for Nida Tounes, Ennahda’s main opponent, a chance in the ring.

A great article with heavy detail on the subject can be found at Middle East Eye.

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