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Tunisia: Registration for Elections Start, Technical Snags Reported

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

Tunisians started registering on electoral lists yesterday (July 11, 2011). The registration process will continue until August 2. Tunisians are due to cast their votes on October 23 to elect a constituent assembly, which will write their country's new constitution. Technical snags are already being reported.

The election was supposed to take place on July 24 but the Independent Commission for the Election delayed it for “technical and logistical” reasons. The delay outraged many Tunisians who were eager to vote in a democratic environment for the first time in their lives.

"I Vote to Build My Tunisia and that of my Children", photo on Facebook Page "Tunisians Stand up and Register on Electoral Lists"

"I Vote to Build My Tunisia and that of my Children", photo on Facebook Page "Tunisians Stand up and Register on Electoral Lists"

Facebookers created an event called Tunisiens debout inscrivez vous sur les listes électorales” (Stand up Tunisians and register on the electoral lists) [fr], to encourage their compatriots to register before it is too late.

The following message was published on the blog Kissa-Online:

سارعوا في تسجيل اسماءكم بالقاءمات الإنتخابية ابتداء من يوم 11 جويلية…و توعية اصدقاءكم و افراد عاإلاتك بضرورة ممارسة حقهم الانتخابي لاول مرة في تاريخ تونس…
انشروا المعلومة…

Hurry up and register your names on the electoral lists starting from July 11.. Create awareness among your friends and family members on the necessity of practicing their right to vote for the first time in the history of Tunisia…Spread the word..

The Independent Commission for the Election created a website, a Facebook page, and a Twitter account to answer all questions concerning the different steps of the constituent assembly election.

Tunisian Twitter users used the hash tag #tnelec to express their views, feelings, and ask questions about the registration process, and the election. Here are some of their reactions:

@Olfa_Riahi: N'oubliez pas de vous inscrire sur les listes électorales du 11 juillet au 2 Août. C impératif! Je vote, tu votes, ils dégagent !

Do not forget to register on the electoral lists, from July 11 to August 2. It's an order. I vote, you vote, they dégage! [Fr] (get out)

@inesTN: Ouf ! J ai enfin trouve ma carte d identite. Demain matin je m inscris pour les elections :)

Ouf! I have finally found out my identification card. Tomorrow morning I will register for the election :)

@Mira404: Pour la première fois de ma vie je vais voter! Cet après-midi je vais m'inscrire à mon consulat! #tnelec

For the first time in my life I'm going to vote. This afternoon, I'm going to register in my consulate #tnelec

Positivity and optimism reign among Tunisian bloggers, as they are only a few steps from voting in what is meant to be the first free and fair elections in the history of Tunisia. However, some are suspicious about the inability of the Tunisian authorities to register seven million voters in three weeks.

@Houssein: Je me demande comment ils comptent enregistrer 7 millions d'électeurs potentiels en 3 semaines! Mission impossible… #tnelec #ISIE

I wonder how they intend to register a potential 7 million voters in three weeks! Mission impossible…#tnelec #ISIE

@Ooouups: ils peuvent tous rever ms moi je dis les élections c en 2012 #Tunisie #Tnelec

They can all dream. In my opinion, the election will take place in 2012 #Tunisie #Tnelec

Moncef Marzouki, president of the political party, the Congress for the Republic, went to register his name on Monday morning, but he claims he wasn't registered because of technical reasons. He says [ar] on his party's Facebook page:

هذا اليوم هو أول يوم للترسيم في القوائم الانتخابية(…) فقررت أن أغتنم الفرصة لأسجل اسمي وخوفا من الصف قررت أن أذهب باكرا للبلدية . الثامنة والربع تقدمت لموظف اسأله عن الاجراءات فاعتذر أنه لم يصل أحد من المكلفين بالتسجيل وما عليّ إلا الرجوع لاحقا(…) هكذا رجعت بعد ساعتين لأكتشف ثلاثة موظفين وراء حواسيبهم استقبلوني(…) طلبني أحدهم بطاقة التعريف وعرضها على قارئ ضوئي يبدو أنه لم يفهم شيئا من بطاقتي فأخذ الموظف ينقر على حاسوبه ربع ساعة ثم أحال البطاقة المشبوهة لزميله الذي لم ينجح في فكّ رموزها وأخيرا أعادها لي قائلا” ثمة مشاكل ، ارجع غدوة”

Today is the first day of voters’ registration (…) I decided to seize the opportunity and register, and fearing long queues I went early to the municipality. At 8.15am I addressed an employee asking him about the registration process. He apologized, saying that none of the employees in charge of the registration are here, and that I should come back later on. I returned in two hours to find three employees, each one behind his own computer (…) One of them requested my identification card and introduced it to a light reader, which was unable to read it. The employee started typing on his computer, then he gave the “suspicious card” to his colleague, who also couldn't decode its symbols. He finally gave it back to me saying “there are problems, come back tomorrow”

The Independent Commission for the Election delayed the election because of technical problems; three months remain until election day, and Tunisian authorities seem unable to overcome the issues. Meanwhile, the streets, that accepted one delay, seem to be running out of patience.

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

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