Tunisia votes on Sunday in its first general election since the country adopted a new constitution in January.
Analysts say there is a rising threat of domestic and regional jihadism and a risk of violence spilling over from neighbouring Libya.
With high unemployment and slow economic growth many see the vote as a chance for change.
On the streets of Tunis, voters expressed mixed emotions
“By the will of God, every Tunisian should go and vote,” said Ediis Alhamroui. “It is an opportunity to show if you are a real Tunisian or not. Voting is just like any of life’s necessities.”
“If you ask anyone in my family they will say, no I am not going to vote but we need to think about Tunisia’s future,” said Aminia Alfitory, adding that “if nobody votes, what’s the point in having an election? We should just cancel it.”
The election features an unusually high number of political parties ranging from secular and socialist to Islamist.
Security is tight. In the last few days a Tunisian security officer was killed in a firefight with jihadists and government forces stormed a house to end a standoff with militants.
Officials have struggled to control hardline Islamists and jihadists opposed to the country’s transition to democracy.