Town hall from Tunisia on the political crisis

By Greta Ghacibeh, Directrice, Association Tunisie Media

Participants join the discussion from Kasserine, Tunisia.

America Abroad Media’s Tunisian office — Association Tunisie Media (ATM) — recently partnered with Radio Shems FM to host a town hall discussion on the country’s current political crisis. The event connected audiences from the interior towns of Gafsa and Kasserine with political leaders in Tunis to discuss the intense conflict between the governing Ennahda party and the opposition, and its impact on citizens’ desire to engage in the political process.

Two years after the Tunisian revolution and the election of a constituent assembly, the basic text of the constitution has not been adopted, and the date of the next election has not been confirmed. The country is immersed in a political deadlock, the National Constituent Assembly is failing to reach a compromise on the future constitution, and Tunisians are more divided than ever.

In this partisan political environment, polls show a substantial dissatisfaction among voters with their elected officials. According to some polls, Ennahda has already lost 31% of those who trusted it on October 23, 2011, the CPR lost 39% of its constituents, and Ettakatol lost 30%.

In this town hall, we asked Tunisians from the towns of Kasserine and Gafsa, known to be particularly disenfranchised, to express their views on the direction the political process is taking in their country, and if that has affected their initial excitement with their newly-found freedom.

Kasserine resident Mohamed Zarrouk expressed his disenchantment with all political parties indiscriminately. He said none of the expectations that the Kasserine residents had when they voted in the 2011 elections were met, and the interior governorate is more disadvantaged than ever.

 

Listen to what he says below.

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(Arabic with English translation)

Zeina Khmayli, an active member of the CPR party in Gafsa, was more optimistic about the political process. He believes that the current relatively chaotic situation is only normal in any democracy going through a transitional phase.

Listen to her discuss this below.

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(Arabic with English translation)

The panelists defended their work and positions of his own party, and attempted to explain the role of the political parties in a democracy.

Mongi Rahoui, ranking member of the “Popular Front” liberal party, said that people have a role in pressuring the parties to deliver on their political promises.

Listen to his response below.

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(Arabic with English translation)

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