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Tunisia: Long Queues and Mixed Feelings on Election Day

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

Today will be engraved in the memories of Tunisian voters, who poured into polling stations, from the early hours of the morning. Tunisians are electing a national constituent assembly to re-write the country's constitution.

Before this election day, there were fears that the rate of turnout would be weak, and disappointing.

On October 17, Tunisian @Arabasta1 tweeted:

Mon cauchemar pour le 23/10 : un faible taux de participation, ce jour là ça sera pas les partis qui perdront mais la Tunisie, ALLEZ VOTER!

My nightmare for the 23/10: a weak participation rate on that day. Tunisia will be the one to lose and not the political parties, GO VOTE

On election day, however, voters needed to stand in long queues and wait for hours before they could cast their votes. Kamel Jendoubi, the head of the Independent Commission for the Election described the voter turnout as ”exceeding all expectations.”

The following YouTube video features long queues outside a polling station.

With very little time left before the polls close, voters are still standing in queues to cast their votes in what everyone hopes will be the first free and fair elections in the history of Tunisia.

@Karim2k tweets:

ow.ly/i/jKjR 4pm and people still flooding to the voting centers.

Bouzizi's Mother at a Polling Station, pic shared by <a href='http://twitpic.com/74njrw'>@nashmiq8</a> shared via twitpic

The polls drew people from all walks of life, Tunisians determined to have their voices heard and their opinion heard. Among them was the mother of Mohamed Bouazizi, the vegetable and fruit seller who set himself on fire in Sidi Bouzid on December 17, 2011, and sparked a wave of protests which lead to the departure of former President Zine Al Abideen Ben Ali.

Tears, emotions and feelings of pride and happiness were also present throughout this election day. Here are some of the reactions of Tunisian voters via the hashtag #tnelec.

@MedAliChebaane:My mom never voted before. Had a hard time trying to stop her tears :-) She made my day!

تونس واقفة في طابور ,طابور جماعي ينتظر الديمقراطية ,,النظام والصبر أول خطوة نحو الديمقراطية حقيقة فخورة بوعي وتحضر التونسيين #Tnelec
@tounsiahourra:: Tunisia is standing in a queue, a queue of masses waiting for democracy, order and patience represent the first steps towards democracy, I'm really proud of the aware and civilized Tunisians.

@Styledeouf: I waited about 2h 45 minutes to vote. #worthwaiting #tnelec

@Emnabenjemaa: Ce qui se passe en Tunisie est unique dans le monde. tout le monde est tres content d'avoit un doigt tout sale avec de l'encre bleu #TnElec

@Emnabenjemaa: What is happening in Tunisia is unique in the world. Everyone is happy for having a finger stained with blue ink

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

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