Your voice matters
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Five-million-citizens confirmed their will to participate in the election process.
Five months till the end of the year… the deadline set by the national constitutional assembly to organize both parliamentary and presidential elections. And after the adoption of the 2014 constitution, the 5th fundamental laws of the country’s history, Tunisians have been asking several questions:
Should I register to vote in the upcoming election? Or maybe I have to boycott the whole process? Who am I going to vote for? Would my voice change anything?
Even though the Fundamental Pact, Tunisia’s first modern constitution, was adopted in 1857 and women had the right to vote since 1956, the path to free voting right was long and often challenging. In fact, the country’s first genuinely democratic elections happened only in October 2011, after the January 14th revolution. However, many things changed since then politically, socially and economically.
The upcoming lines are a summary of the ideas exchanged during a debate organized by a Tunisian organization called “I Watch-Tunisia”. I debated for the following motion “this house believes that we should register for the election”. And arguments can be classified mainly in three fields:
Political parties’ role:
It’s commonly known that the political trust in parties indicates low rates. This fact can be used as an argument to boycott the elections. However, boycotting the elections will only give those parties a higher winning percentage. For example, for 100 voters, if 30 voted to a certain political party called X then this party will have 30% of the total votes. But if 200 persons voted, this party will only get 15% of the total votes. Therefore, if political parties don’t represent you, you still have the chance to express your point of view even if you choose to vote blank. This will lead us to the second point which is how to express your non-satisfaction.
Your point of view matters:
On the one hand, not voting for the political party you don’t trust or use the blank vote are ways to express your rejection and get your voice heard. If a certain party disappointed you in the previous election, you won’t probably vote for it again and this is how you’ll punish it and express your disappointment. On the other hand, according to the Tunisian electoral law if a citizen doesn’t register before the deadline, he won’t be able to go and vote during the parliamentary and presidential elections. Moreover, the political scene changes quickly in Tunisia. So imagine if someone you trust run for the elections and you didn’t register: Consequently, you won’t be able to support him because you already exclude yourself from the whole process. It’s clear that you have to think twice before boycotting the electoral process.
How elections contribute in the development?
The low rate of electors will certainly reflect more non-sustainable years to go. Consequently, development programs won’t be planned and implemented for the long term. Therefore, every citizen who has the right to vote should put in practice his civic duty and express the way he sees his country in five years.
Personally, I’m going to vote in the upcoming elections for the first time in my life and I encourage Tunisian youth to go and register in order to make their voices heard.
Yet, elections are only one step in the mountain we need to climb and every move toward our goal is precious. Youth role has to be more efficient not only during the elections’ process but in building the nation we look for.
But the most important belief Tunisian youth have to share is their change making potential.