Tunisia’s Elections, ExplainedThe world’s youngest democracy votesSarah Yerkes

Tunisians voted in presidential elections on September 15, parliamentary elections on October 6, and a presidential run-off on October 13.

  • Tunisia is the only country that transitioned to democracy after the Arab Spring in 2011.
  • For only the second time in history, Tunisians were able to choose a president in a democratic election.
  • There were over seven million registered voters—an increase of nearly two and a half million since the local elections in May 2018.
  • In July 2019, Tunisia’s first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, died, pushing the presidential elections up from November to September.
  • This left little time to organize complex electoral logistics.
7 million registered voters, including 386,053 Tunisians living abroad
Tunisia’s Diaspora Votes

What voters care about

  • The economy is the number one issue.There is a 15 percent unemployment rate, and one-third of university graduates have no job.
  • Security is fragile.This summer, there have been three suicide bombings. The self-proclaimed Islamic State and al-Qaeda have called for more attacks.
  • Government is unresponsive.Despite progress, two-thirds of Tunisians say that the government does little or nothing to address their needs.

How the elections work

Tunisia is still building its democratic system. That means the process is fluid.

There are two elections: one for parliament and one for president.

International and domestic observers attended to make sure the votes are free and fair.

Political Quotas and Gender Parity

Presidential elections

Presidential terms last for five years, and presidents are limited to two terms.

To run for president, one must be:

--- a Tunisian since birth,
--- at least thirty-five, and
--- a Muslim.

The president is head of state; oversees defense, foreign relations, and national security; can dissolve parliament; and chairs the national security council and is commander in chief of the armed forces.

If no presidential candidate receives a majority of votes, a runoff is held.

Key players