- Title: New Tunisian leader rode wave of youth excitement to presidency
- Date: 15th October 2019
- Summary: TUNIS, TUNISIA (RECENT) (REUTERS) SAIED STANDING IN LINE OUTSIDE POLLING STATION VARIOUS OF SAIED AT VOTING BOOTH VARIOUS OF SAIED WALKING TOWARD BALLOT BOX AND CASTING VOTE
- Embargoed: 29th October 2019 10:02
- Keywords: Tunisia Tunis Presidential Election Youth Voting Kais Saied Polls
- Location: TUNIS, TUNISIA
- City: TUNIS, TUNISIA
- Country: Tunisia
- Topics: Government/Politics,Elections/Voting
- Reuters ID: LVA003B17KFVB
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: As the crowds gathered outside the ornate colonial-era theatre in Tunis' Bourguiba Street after exit polls declared a landslide election win for Kais Saied late on Sunday (October 13), Amel Bahrini decided she had to be there.
Exit polls said about 90 percent of young voters backed Saied, a surge of generational excitement that Bahrini and many of the other students standing outside Manar university on Monday (October 14) compared to the 2011 uprising that inspired the Arab spring.
Economic issues, poverty and unemployment are particularly acute for young people - who have a higher rate of unemployment than the national average.
Many of the young people who voted for Saied on Sunday, however, were only children when their parents and older siblings marched in the streets to demand political rights.
Now, after years of economic malaise and coalition governments featuring many of the old politicians prominent in Ben Ali's day, they have helped elect a man who walked with the protesters during the revolutionary nights of 2011.
Bahrini, who was 13 at the time of the uprising, says she saw the revolution on television.
She was standing outside the science faculty at the Farhat Hached campus of Manar university perched on a hill above Tunis.
A small poster of Saied was stuck to a wall nearby. All the students Reuters met were Saied supporters.
For the dozen students Reuters spoke to at the university on Monday, it was not anything Saied had said about the economy that impressed them, but his incorruptible reputation.
Saied, who is backed by both Islamists and leftists, and who has conservative social views but wants to focus on introducing an experimental form of direct democracy, spent almost nothing on his campaign.
By contrast, his opponent Nabil Karoui had a big advertising platform, owns his own television station, had ties to the old Ben Ali government and faces a trial on corruption charges, which he denies.
Karoui's distribution of food aid - constantly replayed on his Nessma TV channel - earned him the nickname Nabil Macaroni.
(Production: Sayed Sheasha, Seham Eloraby)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None