Eight years after the Arab Spring and the "Jasmine Revolution", has democratic fatigue reached Tunisia? Seven million people are called to the polls, Sunday, October 13, to choose their new president between the austere and conservative academic, Kaïs Saïd, and the tycoon of affairs sulfur, Nabil Karoui.
>> To read: Presidential in Tunisia: the fiery Nabil Karoui against the austere Kaïs Saïed
In the voting center of the rue de Marseille, one of the largest in Tunis, the enthusiasm of the first round gave way to resignation. The queues to vote have disappeared. A certain weariness ensued as Tunisians went to the polls for the third time in less than a month.
The participation rate in the two previous polls was low: 49% for the first round of the presidential election, 41.3% for the legislative elections and to this are added some 24,000 and 26,000 white votes counted in these two polls.
"Difficult to choose because programs are fuzzy"
The choice of the day, between Nabil Karoui, who has spent most of the campaign in remand for tax evasion, and Kaïs Saïed, out-of-system and out-of-party candidate, has all the corollary dilemma. A choice "between plague and cholera", as may have been the title of several Maghreb media. "The indifferent and the absent will be wrong," warned the weather Sunday morning.
"The indifferent and the absent will be in their wrong," warns Le Temps # F24 pic.twitter.com/zPNLOTC3PARomain Houeix (@RHoueix) October 13, 2019
"I hope that these elections will be canceled," said Linda Al-Hadjiri, 49, a teacher, who chose not to vote in a white vote. "Kais Saïd has a speech that the Tunisians do not understand and the other is a corrupt, I would have liked other candidates to qualify."
It castigates a vote "which is the result of the ignorance of the Tunisians and the corruption of the policies".
Rezzougua is more moderate. If the old man concedes to have chosen by default in "a concern of balance of the powers" between the future president and the Parliament, he is satisfied with the vote.
"It was difficult to choose today because the programs are unclear, and with Tunisia's current economic situation, we do not know how they will do to implement them," said the 70-year-old entrepreneur.
"I can ask them for accounts"
In the voting center of the rue de Marseille, Abdelaziz Mahjoub is known. At each ballot, he is one of the first to come to the polls. Each time, he comes dressed in traditional Chechia and a costume proudly displaying a pin of the flag of Tunisia.
"I'm glad that all this electoral sequence went well," says the old man who is the darling of the journalists present because of his accoutrement. "I know the candidates, I voted in my soul and conscience, so if they do not fulfill their promises, I can hold them to account."
Abdelaziz Mahjoub always comes to vote wearing the traditional Chechia. Romain Houeix, France 24
Before the election, Isie, the body responsible for elections, hoped that the participation rate of the day would save honor through the prospect of an atypical duel between the two finalists. The campaign conducted in a feverish atmosphere was completed Friday by a televised duel very followed. Many Tunisians interviewed say that the debate - unprecedented in the Tunisian democratic history - allowed them to make their choice. Just like Libtissem Adali, one of the few young people seen in the morning to vote.
"The debate was very important for me, it allowed me to understand and choose," says the student leaving the polling station, finger still inked. She hopes that young people will follow her example by going to vote massively. "It's important to vote for Tunisia, we need to change the system that allows corruption and poverty."
Lilya, a 20-year-old Ukrainian-Ukrainian, also watched the debate and the latter reinforced her choice. "I want a president who can make young people want to stay in Tunisia, but I do not understand why they are absent today, I hope they will move this afternoon," says the student in electronics.
The long electoral sequence has revealed Tunisian disillusions since the advent of democracy. They criticize the political class for not responding to their economic difficulties and being corrupted in its entirety. While security has improved significantly in recent years, unemployment continues to eat away at dreams, especially among young people. The mobilization of the latter could also be one of the keys to the vote: in the legislative elections, only 9% of 18-24 years were mobilized while in the first round of the presidential election, young people had favored Kaïs Saïed at nearly 37%.