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Why are 75% of Tunisian youth reluctant to participate in 2019 elections?

Leader of Ennahdha Party Rashid al-Ghannouchi casts his vote at a polling station during Tunisian local elections, which was held first time after 2011 Arab Spring revolution, in Ben Arous, Tunisia on May 06, 2018. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )
Leader of Ennahdha Party Rashid al-Ghannouchi casts his vote at a polling station during Tunisian local elections, which was held first time after 2011 Arab Spring revolution, in Ben Arous, Tunisia on May 06, 2018. ( Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency )

With the approaching parliamentary and presidential elections, attention is directed towards Tunisia, the source of the Arab revolutions, amid fears of the reluctance of young people to participate in the next elections, a concern several organisations and associations interested in the electoral issue warned of.

Observers considered in various statements to Al-Khaleej Online that the reluctance of Tunisian youth is like a penalisation for the political class for ignoring their demands. The parliamentary and legislative elections scheduled for October and December 2019 are expected to witness higher reluctance than that in the local elections in May 2018.

The Vice President of the League of Tunisian Women Voters, Torkiya Bin Khidhr, announced on Thursday 8 January, during a session at the Assembly of the Representatives of the People, that 75 per cent of Tunisian youth and women do not want to participate in parliamentary and presidential elections scheduled for the end of 2019.

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Bin Khidhr attributed Tunisians' political participation reluctance to the lack of improvement of their social situation, and their disappointment with political parties that did not implement their electoral programs, according to a study she conducted with ATIDE organisation, which is concerned with monitoring elections.

Bin Khidhr revealed that about 67 per cent of women in rural areas are not aware of the 2018 municipal elections, and the percentage of municipal counsellors "is also weak, as it does not exceed 47 per cent."

Youth penalising politicians

Although youth participation is the real gateway to mobilising the energies of the younger generations and reviving the political and social system of the country, since the first local elections in Tunisia in May 2018, young people decided not to participate in the political process. The percentage of Tunisian voters' turnout did not exceed 33.7 per cent.

Laila Chraibi, President of ATIDE organisation, expected in statements to Al-Khaleej Online that the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections would witness a significant reluctance of voters, especially in light of the instability of the current political scene and the ideological conflict between the parties.

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