A group of Arab Spring activists observing Polish parliamentary elections are championing the spirit of civil society, and say such ballots back home will be milestones in turning hard-won freedoms into lasting democracy.
Fifteen activists and election officials — five from Tunisia, Egypt and Libya — met Friday with deputy foreign ministers Krzysztof Stanowski and Jerzy Pomianowski. They also held a meeting with the members and judges of the State Electoral Commission. Poland is to hold parliamentary elections on Sunday, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s Civic Platform party presently leading in opinion polls.
Following this year’s wave of Arab Spring revolutions, the first free elections in decades are to be held in Tunisia on Oct. 23 and in Egypt at the end of November. No elections are yet scheduled for Libya, where dictator Moammar Gadhafi remains in hiding.
Heads of the Egyptian and Tunisian delegations told reporters they will make every effort to ensure that the historic elections are held according to the best standards of democracy.
“We will take every effort to make sure that one of the key slogans of the revolution, free elections, is achieved,” said Abdel Moez, head of Egypt’s Electoral Commission.
“We are now at a key moment in history, a transition from a dictatorship,” he said.
A leader of the Libyan delegation, former political prisoner Muhammad Abunnaja, said Libya will “certainly not go back to a dictatorship or tyranny” and when time comes for free elections, a “democratic formula will be found to make sure that all social groups are represented.”
“We want to learn good solutions that can be used in our country,” he said. “We want to learn how to introduce and improve the mechanisms of a democratic society.”