Tunisians abroad vote in first Arab Spring election

PARIS (AFP) — Tunisians abroad thronged to vote Thursday in the first post-Arab Spring free election, three days before their compatriots at home go to the polls to turn the page on 23 years of autocratic rule.

Like many who voted on Thursday, historic opposition figure Kamel Jendoubi, who heads the overall election organizing body ISIE, was tearful as he voted at a consulate in Paris.

“I dreamt of this day, I couldn’t imagine but now I’m living it!” he said. “If we came here a few months ago, a few years ago, we’d simply be thrown out, it wasn’t our house.”

Expat Tunisians choose 18 of the 217 members of the constituent assembly, voting until Saturday in six “constituencies”: two in France, one in Italy, one in Germany, one in North America and one for other Arab nations.

Tunisians living in former colonial ruler France will elect 10 of these 18 seats, in an assembly that will be tasked with drafting a new constitution.

(www.maannews.net / 20.10.2011)

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