Police and soldiers went to the ballot box for the first time in Tunisia on Sunday, casting votes in municipal elections after the lifting of a longtime ban. Most Tunisians will vote on May 6 in the municipal polls — the first since the North African country’s 2011 revolution — but members of the security forces cast their ballots a week earlier. “This is a historic day. For the first time we are exercising a right of citizenship,” a police officer told AFP at a polling station in central Tunis, asking to remain anonymous.
Under the long rule of ex-president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, authorities outlawed voting by soldiers and police, insisting security forces remain outside of politics.
But after Ben Ali’s fall, long-banned police unions formed and called for the right to vote.
The new electoral law only allows security forces and members of the army to vote in municipal elections. Police and soldiers are barred from participating in election campaigns or attending public meetings.