Hariri Center Experts on Tunisia’s Presidential Elections

Tunisia had a momentous weekend, holding its first free and fair election for its head of state in its modern history. Sunday’s vote brings the country one step closer to consolidating its long-in-the-making democracy. While the elections commission does not plan to release preliminary results until tomorrow, most analysts believe that the twenty-plus candidate list virtually guarantees a runoff election in December. The vote took place peacefully, with an estimated turnout of more than 60 percent, though a notable absence of young voters. Reports from elections observers are expected to trickle in over the next few days, providing a clearer picture of the atmosphere, but so far, no major complaints have surfaced.

The Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East has followed closely the evolving politics of Tunisia’s transition over the past three and a half years. Asked about this weekend’s election, our experts had a range of reactions. For our most recent news and analysis, please visit our Tunisia in Focus page.

Karim Mezran, Senior Fellow
North Africa specialist

Duncan Pickard, Nonresident Fellow
North Africa specialist

Bassem Bouguerra, Nonresident Fellow
Civil society, Security Sector Reform Expert

Lara Talverdian, Assistant Director for Research
Tunisia researcher

Image: Election workers at a counting centre in Tunis, November 24, 2014. Tunisians voted on Sunday to pick their first directly elected president, with the two major parties expecting a run-off as the final step in the North African state's transition to full democracy following a 2011 revolution. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi