dimanche 23 octobre 2011

Election numbers and images

Blue ink on the index, these citizens have voted.

Today is the big day in Tunisia – citizens will finally vote freely. This afternoon, there were line-ups in front of voting stations, some having up to more than one-hour waiting time.

Google Tunisia's front page - October 23rd 2011.
The main francophone newspapers have published articles informing citizens on the proper steps to take in order to cast a ballot and the front pages are adorned with images encouraging people to vote. Also, to commemorate the occasion Google Tunisia has decorated its front page.

The military is currently standing guard at all stations and ensuring a peaceful democratic process. Inside, ISIE (watchdog group for a fair election) personnel answer people’s questions and guide them through the voting process.

In order to vote, citizens must present their national ID cards – no other form of identification is accepted. Every voter must have his name on the registration list to be eligible although there are stations for people who did not register. This changes little for them; they’ll just have to wait a bit longer. Lastly, before casting their ballot, every voter must dip their finger in blue ink and stamp their fingerprint on the electoral list.

La Presse's front page - October 23rd 2011.

Le Temps' front page - October 23rd 2011.

A special calling center is set up to answer citizen’s questions all day. The number is 1814 and SMS may be sent to 1423.

The ballots are large enough to fit all parties and independents. A logo appears next to the names to accommodate those who cannot read.

Rached Ghannouchi, Ahmed Najib Chebbi and Mustapha Ben Jaafar, leaders of Ennahda, the PDP and Ettakatol publicly cast their votes today. Ghannouchi was met with some hostility as people called for him to “Dégage” (Get out) as he was leaving the voting station. See the video, for facebook users. Mrs. Chebbi and Ben Jaafar instead didn't experience such problems and waited in line with other citizens.

A voting office in downtown Tunis.

A waiting line stretching over 100 meters.

Here’s some interesting statistics on the election :

-          -About 7 million Tunisians are eligible to vote;
-          -4 439 527 have registered to vote, this represents roughly 60%;
-          -50 000 policemen have been deployed to maintain order;
-          -There are 27 ridings in Tunisia and six abroad;
-          -There are 217 seats at the Assembly – 199 in Tunisia, 18 abroad;
-          -A total of 1 517 list are competing – 655 independents and 828 are from the 110 parties;
-          -11 618 are running in the election;
-          -5 143 observers are keeping watch over the procedures – 533 are foreign;
-          -About 1500 journalists are covering the event;

Sources: Tunisia-live.net, ISIE, La Presse, Le Temps.

Soldiers guarding the entrance at a polling station.

Ahmed Najib Chebbi (center), leader of the PDP, waiting in line to vote.

Mustapha Ben Jaafar (right), leader of Ettakatol, 
waiting in line to vote.

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