Photo Essay: Tunisia Parliamentary Election Day

In a milestone election, the first since Tunisia adopted a new, post-revolution constitution, Tunisians went to the polls on Sunday, October 26 to cast their ballots for a parliament. Despite concerns in the lead-up regarding voter abstention and security threats, voter turnout was remarkably high, and election observers have praised the process as inclusive and transparent. The overall atmosphere was cautiously optimistic, with many Tunisians proudly waving their red and white flag. Here is a glimpse of what Tunisia looked like on the historic day:

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Voters start queuing up very early on the rainy Sunday morning in anticipation of the country’s first election since the adoption of the post-revolution constitution.

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An early voter casts her ballot.

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Despite the large crowds of early voters, Ben Hamadi Faysal expressed concern about the voter turnout, which was one of the biggest worries ahead of the elections. “I don’t think everybody will go vote,” he said, “especially not out in the country.” Tunisia’s high election commission put the voter turnout at a remarkable 60%.

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Another concern was that the youth, already feeling disenfranchised and marginalized, would boycott the vote. According to accounts, young people were in fact remarkably absent from the polling centers, but Khansa Hajri and Meriem Bousseona were among those who decided to cast their ballots. Both voted for liberal political party Nidaa Tounes.

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The view of a polling station on Rue de Marseille in downtown Tunis.

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A voter looks for his name on the registration list..

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A woman happily submits her ballot at a polling station in the suburb of La Marsa..

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Tunisian authorities ramped up security for the elections, as Tunisia has been facing growing terrorist threats since the revolution. More than 80,000 security personnel were reportedly deployed around the country to ensure a peaceful day at the ballot box as Tunisians took a step toward consolidating their democracy..

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Three military guards protect the entrance to a polling station in downtown Tunis.

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A woman proudly waves the Tunisian flag in celebration of her country’s milestone election.

Christine Petré is the editor of Your Middle East and a freelance writer currently based in Tunisia.