Only about half of potential voters in Tunisia have registered to cast their ballot in October polls, the first since the January ouster of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, early figures showed Sunday. Just over 3.7 million of an estimated seven million potential voters had added their names to the roll, a member of the independent election commission, Larbi Chouikha, told AFP ahead of the close of registration at midnight (2300 GMT).
The provisional figure, which does not include an estimated 700,000 to 800,000 Tunisians of voting age abroad, represented about 52 percent of potential voters still in the country. The commission will release official figures on Tuesday. Registration opened on July 11 and was supposed to close on August 2, but was prolonged due to a slow turnout.
The October 23 election will be for a constituent assembly charged with drawing up a new constitution to replace that of the former dictatorial regime.
Potential voters seemed to be at a loss of what to expect from the vote.
“I took part in the revolution for a democratic Tunisia,” said 21-year-old Walid in a small workshop in the poor Ettadhamen district, which saw some of the worst violence in the month-long uprising that led to Ben Ali’s flight to Saudi Arabia on January 14.
“I called for dignity and freedom and I even cried tears of joy when they announced Ben Ali’s flight, but what happened to change? I’m still poor and may be all my life.”
The provisional government, the body in charge of reforms and political parties have so far failed to explain what will happen in the country’s transition to democratic rule, local residents said.
Full Article: AFP: Tunisian voters register for ballot.