Tunisian elections raise Egyptian hopes

Tunisian elections raise Egyptian hopes
Egyptians followed the presidential elections in Tunisia with interest as the democratic gains of their own revolution are being reversed.
2 min read
24 November, 2014
Tunisian singer Latifa casts her vote [Facebook]
Egyptian activists have used Tunisia's presidential elections to draw attention to the lack of democracy in their own country, sadly contrasting Tunisia's revolution and nascent democracy with their own hijacked revolution and aborted democracy.

The election was held on Sunday, but a second round will be held, as no candidate won an outright majority.

Many Egyptians have followed elections in Tunisia with interest. 

"Whoever wins the elections in Tunisia will win second place, because first place goes to the people of Tunisia," said Egyptian historian and author Mohammad al-Jawadi.

Breadth of choice

Egyptian activists have praised the wide field of candidates in Tunisia's presidential election, comparing it unfavourably to the presidential election in Egypt, in which Abdul Fatah al-Sisi ran against a token opponent with minimal support, leftist Hamdin Sabahi.

"There are 27 candidates in Tunisia's presidential elections, including one woman. But here in Egypt, Sisi used Hamdin to legitimise the false elections," one activist posted anonymously on social media.
I weep for the Egyptian revolution, which was hijacked by the army and betrayed. Our martyrs spit on us.
- Social media post

Many praised the Tunisian army, which did not interfere in the country's political affairs, but some expressed fears about the return of the old regime in the form of Nidaa Tounes and its presidential candidate, Beji Caid Essebsi.

"No matter how serious the threat of the remnants of the old regime, it can be eliminated if we have an army that is neutral and a politically conscious people," anothe ractivist posted. "Tunisia is way ahead of us and it will not return to dictatorship."

Many Egyptians envy Tunisia. One parody account under Sisi's name posted: "All praise to the revolutionaries of Tunisia who protected their revolution. I weep for our revolution, which was hijacked by the army and betrayed. Our martyrs spit on us."

Activists also drew attention to Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris' recent trip to Tunisia to follow the election, asking what benefit coud be drawn from his interest in Tunis democracy.

Some posted pictures of Tunisian celebrities such as singer Latifa and actress Hend Sabri casting their votes to show how all segments of the Tunisian people are participating in the elections and celebrating the process.

This is an edited translation from our Arabic edition.