I got this scoop (ok, not the strongest, but a scoop’s a scoop) for SBS back in October, but forgot about it until recently… Seeing as I’m heading to Tunisia in a few weeks, I’ll repost it here.
The first vote in the first election to emerge from the Arab Spring was cast by a Sydney woman at the Tunisian embassy in Canberra yesterday.
Around the world, Tunisians began heading to the polls on Thursday, with Canberra’s Tunisian Embassy the first to open its polling booths.
“For all the Tunisian people all over the world, the first one who has elected is in Australia,” Ambassador Raouf Chatty told SBS.
“She was very proud, and we’re proud of her.”
“She has exercised her right to vote in free elections … to try and build democracy for the country.”
“It’s a historical moment”, Mr Chatty said.
Mr Chatty said he hoped for freedom, dignity, democracy and social justice for the Tunisian people.
Under the country’s new electoral system, Tunisians living abroad choose 18 of the 217 members of the constituent assembly, spread across six constituencies.
There are ten seats for voters in France, three in Italy, one in Germany, two for the Americas and Europe. For expatriates in Arab nations and the rest of the world (including Australia), there are two seats.
Almost one million Tunisians live outside of the North African country, with up to 500,000 in France.
Votes cast abroad will be counted on Saturday and the results announced following the close of polls in Tunisia on Sunday.
The ‘Arab Spring’, which has seen revolution and protest spread across North Africa, the Levant and Middle East, was sparked by regime-felling protests in Tunisia over ten months ago.
For the record – and if you missed it – the Islamic Nahda party won enough seats to lead the governing coalition.