News / Africa

Campaign Winds Down in Tunisia's First-Ever Democratic Elections

Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement attend a closing campaign rally in Tunis, Tunisia, October 21, 2011.
Supporters of the Islamist Ennahda movement attend a closing campaign rally in Tunis, Tunisia, October 21, 2011.
Lisa Bryant

Ten months after kicking out longtime dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali and sparking a wider Arab revolt, the North African country of Tunisia wrapped up its last day of campaigning for its first-ever democratic elections.

It's been a busy day for Boutheina Ferchiou. She's a law professor in Tunis. But Friday, Ferchiou was out on the main Habib Bourguiba artery, handing out flyers for her Modern Democratic Poll coalition party.

Ferchiou said she hopes that Tunisians will vote their conscience - and toward the progressiveness and modernity she says her party embraces.

Ferchiou is one of thousands of candidates vying for a seat on Tunisia's new Constituent Assembly. The body will be tasked to draw up a new constitution and chart a political future after decades of dictatorship. More than 100 parties are competing in the first democratic election here since independence.

Polls show many Tunisians are undecided about which one to vote for. But political blogger Kerim Bouzouita said that's democracy at work.

"We have to read this hesitation like a good sign. Because there is a good political offer. And the situation is not so hard because we have two big tendencies - the conservators and the modernists, or the pragmatists," said Bouzouita.

The party scoring the strongest in all the polls is the moderate, Islamist Ennadha. Hundreds turned out for a final rally outside Tunis on Friday, the last day of campaigning before Sunday's vote.

Graduate student Safa Wouerzhi, 20, is a Ennadha supporter. Wouerzhi said she's for Ennahdha because her parents support the party and it's a great choice. She believes religion should play a role in political life - because Tunisia is an Arabic and Muslim country.

Polls open at 7 a.m. local time on Sunday and close 12 hours later. Election officials say they hope to announce preliminary results later the same day.

Related report

You May Like

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

There is growing uncertainty over whether West’s response to ISIS is adequate More

China Crackdown on Dual Citizens Causes Concern

New policy encourages reporting people who obtain citizenship in another country, but retain Chinese citizenship; move spurs sharp debate More

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

Losing ground to Islamic State fighters, Syria's government says it is ready to cooperate with international community More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?i
X
Henry Ridgwell
August 29, 2014 12:26 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Is West Doing Enough to Tackle Islamic State?

U.S. President Barack Obama has ruled out sending ground troops to Iraq to fight militants of the so-called Islamic State, or ISIS, despite officials in Washington describing the extremist group as the biggest threat the United States has faced in years. Henry Ridgwell reports from London on the growing uncertainty over whether the West’s response to ISIS will be enough to defeat the terrorist threat.
Video

Video Pachyderms Play Polo to Raise Money for Elephants

Polo, the ancient team competition typically played on horseback, is known as the “sport of kings.” However, the royal version for one annual event in Thailand swaps the horse for the kingdom’s national symbol - the elephant. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Samut Prakan reports that the King’s Cup Elephant Polo tournament is all for a good cause.
Video

Video Coalition to Fight Islamic State Could Reward Assad

The United States along with European and Mideast allies are considering a broader assault against Islamic State fighters who have spread from Syria into Iraq and risk further destabilizing an already troubled region. But as VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, confronting those militants could end up helping the embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
Video

Video Made in America Socks Get Toehold in Online Fashion Market

Three young entrepreneurs are hoping to revolutionize the high-end sock industry by introducing all-American creations of their own. And they’re doing most of it the old-fashioned way. VOA’s Julie Taboh recently caught up with them to learn what goes into making their one-of-a-kind socks.
Video

Video Americans, Ex-Pats Send Relief Supplies to West Africa

Health organizations from around the world are sending supplies and specialists to the West African countries that are dealing with the worst Ebola outbreak in history. On a smaller scale, ordinary Americans and African expatriates living in the United States are doing the same. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video America's Most Popular Artworks Displayed in Public Places

Public places in cities across America were turned into open-air art galleries in August. Pictures of the nation’s most popular artworks were displayed on billboards, bus shelters, subway platforms and more. The idea behind “Art Everywhere,” a collaborative campaign by five major museums is to allow more people to enjoy art and learn about the country’s culture and history. Faiza Elmasry has more.
Video

Video Chinese Doctors Use 3-D Spinal Implant

A Chinese boy suffering from a debilitating bone disease has become the first patient with a part of his spine created in a three-dimensional printer. Doctors say he will soon regain normal mobility. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Uneasy Calm Settles Over Israel, Gaza Strip

Israel and the Gaza Strip have been calm since a cease-fire set in Tuesday evening, ending seven weeks of hostilities. Hamas, which controls Gaza, declared victory. Israelis were more wart. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jerusalem.
Video

Video India’s Leprosy Battle Stymied by Continuing Stigma

Medical advancements in the treatment of leprosy have greatly diminished its impact around the world, largely eliminating the disease from most countries. India made great strides in combating leprosy, but still accounts for a majority of the world’s new cases each year, and the number of newly infected Indians is rising - more than 130,000 recorded last year. Doctors there say the problem has more to do with society than science. Shaikh Azizur Rahman reports from Kolkata.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid