I’ve just had a meeting with Kamel Jendoubi, the head of Tunisia’s electoral commission, at his office at the Lafayette district of Tunis. Jendoubi’s commission is responsible for organising Sunday’s election. “We are ready,” he says.
The UN has not been invited in to monitor the elections – “because,” he says, “it is an issue of sovereignty”. There are instead to be 10,167 observers – 9,590 Tunisians, 577 from abroad including 525 from the EU and the US, and 52 from the Arab and Muslim world.
Jendoubi says it was the Supreme Court for the Protection of the Revolution which issued the controversial law forbidding the foreign press to interview candidates. “The law is a remnant of the old regime.”
Political advertising is outlawed – “so that no party has an unfair advantage over another”. But he says this is being flouted, with some parties even showing adverts on TV.
I wonder what success would look like on Sunday. “For no one to question the outcome of the election.” That’s a high bar … “Our main challenge is mistrust. People just don’t believe that we can hold free and fair elections.”
What turnout is he hoping for? “60 per cent,” he says, with confidence. That’s high, I say. “But who knows? Perhaps 80 per cent.”