Advocacy Associate Todd Ruffner in Fikra Forum: Supporting Tunisia’s Future

In an article for Fikra Forum, POMED Advocacy Associate Todd Ruffner highlights the importance of Tunisia’s upcoming elections and how the U.S. should support Tunisia in its continuing transition.

Despite fading from the headlines, Tunisia’s slow and steady democratic consolidation is among the few remaining bright spots in the Middle East. Tunisians will elect a new parliament and president before the end of the year, marking another step in the country’s difficult but encouraging transition.

Citizens will have a potentially overwhelming range of options when they cast their votes. In the legislative elections, a combination of political parties, local-interest movements, and lists of independents have put forth over 9,500 candidates on dozens of electoral lists. Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes are expected to be frontrunners, but lesser-known parties may gain significant numbers of seats, as occurred in the 2011 election. A month after the parliamentary elections, voters will choose from 27 presidential candidates, making a runoff almost certain. Beji Caid Essebsi, founder of Nidaa Tounes, is widely seen as the presidential favorite. Ennahda opted not to put forth a candidate, and will instead agree internally to endorse a contender.

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