- Title: New Tunisian leader rode wave of youth excitement to presidency
- Date: 15th October 2019
- Summary: TUNIS, TUNISIA (OCTOBER 14, 2019) (REUTERS) STUDENTS OF AL-MANAR UNIVERSITY IN TUNIS WAITING AT BUS STOP VARIOUS OF STUDENTS GETTING ON BUS VARIOUS OF STUDENTS WALKING TO AND FROM BUS STOP IN FRONT OF UNIVERSITY CAMPUS (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) GRADUATE STUDENT, AMAL BAHRINI, SAYING: "He is clean and we feel that he represents us. Of course he does not have a magic wand that will change everything or fix the (Tunisian) dinar overnight, but we feel as though he will stand for what is right, and if he sees something that does not seem right he will stop it and will speak up about it." VARIOUS OF STUDENTS STANDING OUTSIDE UNIVERSITY CAMPUS AND TALKING STUDENTS AT BUS STOP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT, MOHAMED ALI, SAYING: "His programme wasn't clear. We did not vote for him (Kais Saied) for his programme, we voted for him because his hands are clean (of corruption), and he made it to the second round because we chose him." REPORTER ASKING: "But you think his programme is vague?" "He doesn't really have a programme, his promises seem fragile and he does not have a programme." VARIOUS OF STUDENTS AT BUS STOP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) STUDENT, CYNTHIA TAWALI, SAYING: "He reminds me of the days of the revolution but without the cheating, and without the violence and subjugation that we felt in our hearts. On the contrary, the atmosphere is that of solidarity between Tunisians and shared joy." VARIOUS OF STUDENTS AT BUS STOP (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) PHD STUDENT, TAHA ZOURGUIT, SAYING: "The percentage of voter turnout - from 44 percent to 57 percent- this is a percentage that we see in developed countries, percentages that reach 60 percent or more. This shows the level of civic awareness of our political, social, and economic rights. And if we look ahead to 2024, we can confidently say, without emotions or false hope, that there will be an even higher turnout or a similar one and this is promising. It is promising because the youth participated in the election in decent numbers."
- 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: LVA001B17KFVB
- 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
- Copyright Notice: (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019. Open For Restrictions - http://about.reuters.com/fulllegal.asp
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None