By RFIPosted on 15-09-2019Modified on 15-09-2019 at 20:42

The first round of presidential elections is over in Tunisia. Polling stations closed as scheduled at 6 pm (5 pm UTC) this Sunday, September 15th. Participation is expected to be low for this open poll.

In Tunisia, as it had begun this Sunday morning, the vote ended on time. The military arrived at the polling stations to collect the ballot boxes and send them to the counting centers, while the voters came to vote until the last minute. No major incident has yet been reported in the country's 13,000 polling stations.

The great uncertainty of this vote is participation. At 15h, 27.84% of voters went to the polls, according to data from the ISIE, the body in charge of elections. This figure is down from 2014 when the final participation rate was close to 64.56%.

► To be re-read : Presidential election in Tunisia: Low turnout at mid-day

The youth vote will be particularly scrutinized. Indeed, while they had registered en masse on the lists of electors in April and May, it seems that they were few in the polls. What makes fear a strong abstention. By the end of the afternoon, the boss of the ISIE had appealed to these young people before the closing of the offices.

Pride in Tunis

At La Goulette, near Tunis, the vote was calm. Voters moved in a trickle, but there was some interest in the ballot.

Several Tunisians expressed their pride at being able to freely choose their president for the second time. " I voted to preserve the future of my children, " explained a mature woman. For her, the priorities are now multiple: security, education, health.

So far, very good progress has been made. In almost all cases, the assessments of our observers have been extremely positive.

Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Head of the EU Observer Mission

15-09-2019 - By Bineta Diagne

Some voters are frustrated by the economic crisis. Habib Labidi voted to " sanction the economic policy of the government ". This retired 66 year old wants " change ".

Now in the country, Tunisians follow the local radio and TV that should, in the evening, give the first trends of this vote.

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