Oct. 22 - Tunisia holds elections Sunday, the first in the wake of Arab Spring uprisings. Deborah Lutterbeck reports.
Tunisia's revolution began with a slap and an insult hurled at a vegetable-seller in a small Tunisian town and ended with the first of the so-called Arab Spring revolutions. Now Tunisians are preparing to vote Sunday in the nation's first democratic elections. The North African country, which overthrew President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in January, is choosing an assembly which will have the task of writing a new constitution, installing a temporary executive and setting a fresh round of elections. Hopes are high SOUNDBITE: Local resident Ramzi Jabri, saying (French): "We are the first Arab country to be holding free, transparent elections, we the Tunisians who rose in with the revolution against the dictator and we will try and hold legislative transparent elections that will meet Tunisian people's demands." But some of the problems that were at the root of the revolution, unemployment and poverty, are still there. If anything, they have grown worse because large numbers of tourists, a huge source of revenue, were scared away by the revolution. SOUNDBITE: Local resident, saying (Arabic): "God willing, a good leader will come into power who would feel our pain, poor people's pain, I am one of those people with three children, my situation is dire, my mother in law lives with us, we are homeless on our own land, what sort of life is this? how is this young girl suppose to live and grow? This is our situation." The new freedoms have allowed a moderate Islamist party -- banned by Ben Ali -- to emerge as front-runner in the vote. That though is causing anxiety among the country's secular elite, which believes its liberal values are under threat. The government says 40,000 police and soldiers will be deployed to prevent any protests spilling over into violence. Deborah Lutterbeck, Reuters