Tunisia’s first free municipal elections got under way Sunday as voters expressed frustration at the slow pace of change since the 2011 revolution in the cradle of the Arab Spring. The election has been touted as another milestone on the road to democracy in the North African country, which has been praised for its transition from decades of dictatorship. But Tunisia has struggled with persistent political, security and economic problems as well as corruption since the revolution, and observers expected a low turnout for Sunday’s poll. … Tunisia is grappling with economic challenges including an inflation rate which stands at around eight percent and an unemployment rate of more than 15 percent. The country was hit by a wave of protest at the start of the year over a new austerity budget introduced by the government.
“These municipal elections won’t change anything for us. We will always be on the same cart without wheels or a horse,” 34-year-old housewife Hilma told AFP ahead of the vote.
More than 57 000 candidates, half of them women and young people, are running for office in Tunisia’s 350 municipalities.
Around 60 000 police and military personnel have been mobilised for the polls, while Tunisia remains under a state of emergency, imposed in 2015 after a string of deadly jihadist attacks.