Tunisia has announced the date for the first free election in the country’s history.
The vote to elect a 218 seat assembly will take place on October 23rd. The parliament will sit for 12 months to rewrite the country’s constitution.
Hundreds of candidates from scores of new political parties have began campaigning in earnest. But there is some trepidation over whether Tunisians can trust the election process.
“There is some concern from the security forces,” said Foreign Minister Mohamed Mouldi Kefi. “But we are counting on the wisdom of the Tunisian people.”
Officials know too well that the international community will be watching to see how the country’s fledgling democracy develops: “It will probably be a bell-weather model for the others,” added Kefi, referring to other ‘Arab Spring’ countries.
The election comes nine months after an uprising deposed former President Zine El Abidine after 23 years in power.
The interim government has faced renewed protests after taking their time setting an election date.