News / Africa

Tunisian Americans Celebrate First Free Elections Since 1956

TEXT SIZE - +
Jeff Swicord

Tunisians voted Sunday in what many are calling the political rebirth of the country.  The Ennahdha party, a moderate Islamist group, looked set to win the most seats in early counting. Tunisia is the first country liberated from decades of dictatorship in the Arab Spring movement.  At the only Tunisian restaurant in the Washington D.C. area there was reaction from those who had fled the dictatorship of President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and are now watching their country's election.

In Tunisia, turnout was higher than expected for the first free elections in 42 years.  Voters headed to the polls to vote for the National Constituent Assembly, a body of 217 representatives. They will draft the constitution and appoint an interim government.

There were long lines at the polls throughout the day, and excitement ran high.

Thousands of miles away in the United States, members of the Tunisian diaspora are also jubilant.

At the "Taste of Tunisia" restaurant in the Washington D.C. area, owners Intissar Jemali and Karim Adassi on Monday were recovering from hosting 150 people at an election party the day before.

Jemali has lived in the U.S. since 1993.

“Actually I was very excited to see the election after 23 years, it was a bad time," he said.  "We all happy, all of Tunisia is happy.”

Adassi said Tunisia has been waiting for a revolution to bring freedom for decades.

“Election going to be a good step for the history of the people of Tunisia," he said.  "Because people, they deserve to be free, to choose who is going to be the government.”

Dozens of political parties participated in the elections. The once-illegal Ennahdha movement, a moderate Islamist party, went into the voting with strong support.  Jemali says the Ennahdha movement would be a good compromise for the country.

“It is a good mix because Tunisia it is considered a Muslim country so like 50, 60 percent practice, 40 percent don’t practice so, you have a right to choose whether you want to practice,” he said.

Both Jemali and Adassi think the elections will bring change to the country, starting with a respect for basic human rights.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid