In October 2011, just ten months after the first ripples of unrest in Tunisia signaled the beginning of the regional revolution known as the Arab Spring, Tunisians went to the polls to vote in their country's first fully democratic election, and cast their ballots to choose a Constituent Assembly: a provisional, caretaker administration tasked with appointing a government and a prime minister.
It was the first free election in the Arab world held after the start of the Arab Spring.
Three years later, the people of Tunisia again went to the polls. On October 26th, 2014, Tunisia held its second post-revolutionary election, and its first full-term parliamentary contest. An estimated 62 percent of eligible voters cast ballots for their choice of candidates representing more than 60 political parties.
“On behalf of all Americans, I congratulate the people of Tunisia on the democratic election of a new parliament – an important milestone in Tunisia's historic political transition,” said President Barack Obama.
“In casting their ballots, Tunisians continued to inspire people across their region and around the world, as they did during Tunisia's 2011 revolution and with the adoption of a new constitution earlier this year. Tunisia's example reminds us all that dialogue, consensus-building, political pluralism, and peaceful assembly help form the bedrock of democracy. The United States reaffirms its commitment to supporting democracy in Tunisia, to our continued friendship with the people of Tunisia, and to partnering with the next government as it works to promote economic opportunity, protect freedom, and ensure security for all Tunisians.”
Over the past three years, Tunisia’s transition from dictatorship to democracy has not been easy. The untested government and its new leaders were tasked with the daunting challenges posed by economic political, and security situations, and creating and implementing a new system that would best serve the country. As a result, Tunisia saw some upheaval, economic distress, high unemployment, and attacks by extremists hoping to disrupt the transition to democracy.
It is therefore a testament to the Tunisian people that this election saw a strong turnout and proceeded peacefully.