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Tunisians to Elect Constituent Assembly Sunday

October 20, 2011

Peter Clottey

An official of the U.S.-based Carter center says Tunisians seem enthusiastic about this week-end’s polls for an assembly that will write a new constitution.

Sarah Johnson, assistant director of the Democracy Program at the Carter Center, said “People are excited to have a peaceful credible election and they are very much looking forward to the polls on Sunday,” said Johnson. “There is perhaps a segment of society that is skeptical of the political process… but [assured] that things could be different and has been turning out in large numbers.”

Johnson said despite short notice, the Independent National Elections Commission has made adequate preparations to ensure transparency. And, she said political parties have launched vigorous but peaceful campaigns.

Former Mauritius President Cassam Uteem and Carter Center President and CEO John Hardman are co-leading the center’s international election observation delegation to monitor Sunday’s vote.

The former Mauritius leader was quoted as saying “Tunisia will be the first Arab Spring country to hold elections,” said President Uteem. “The Carter Center is honored to have been invited to observe this historical event. We look forward to a peaceful democratic process and credible elections, and encourage the election commission to finalize the remaining preparations.”

Johnson who is also a member of the poll observer delegation said she’s been monitoring the voter registration drive since July, and that all has been calm.

She expressed hope that Tunisians will have confidence in their electoral system’s ability to organize a credible vote.

“We very much hope that our presence will reassure the Tunisian population to cast their ballots in what will be the first credible democratic elections in Tunisia for some time,” said Johnson. “We are supportive of the process and we hope that they will participate in the process as well.”

According to officials of the Carter Center, the objectives of its poll observer delegation are to provide an impartial assessment of the overall quality of the electoral process, promote an inclusive process for all Tunisians, and demonstrate international support for this ambitious democratic transition.

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