Tunisia’s first free municipal elections got under way Sunday as voters expressed frustration at the slow pace of change since the 2011 revolution in the cradle of the Arab Spring.
The election has been touted as another milestone on the road to democracy in the North African country, which has been praised for its transition from decades of dictatorship.
But Tunisia has struggled with persistent political, security and economic problems as well as corruption since the revolution, and observers expected a low turnout for Sunday’s poll.
Around 15 people trickled into a polling station in central Tunis to cast their ballots after voting officially began at 8:00 am (0700 GMT).
Ridha Kouki, 58, acknowledged that voting is “a right and a duty” but said Tunisians “have little hope” of any change.
Chokri Halaoui, 45, said he wanted to send a “message to politicians to tell them ‘we have voted now show us what you can do’.”
Tunisians have already voted in parliamentary and presidential elections since the 2011 fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, but municipal polls had been delayed four times due to logistic, administrative and political deadlocks.
President Beji Caid Essebsi has called for a “massive turnout”.
“For the first time (since the revolution) the Tunisian people are called to participate in municipal elections, something that seems simple but it is very important,” he said on Friday.