In Tunisia, the democratic transition will finally be able to take root at the local level, a first since the 2011 revolution. Observers for the May 6, 2018 elections are on the front lines to ensure the electoral process runs smoothly. They are now part of the ritual. Their flocked caps and T-shirts, badges and notebooks blend into the polling station decor. Mandated by the European Union, the instance in charge of the election, or associations from civil society, the observers are involved in all Tunisian elections. Their mission: to ensure that operations are free and fair. Over the past three decades, a global non-partisan election monitoring movement has collectively mobilized millions of citizens around the world to participate in their country's democratic process as election observers. When citizens gather to observe elections, they may have a number of objectives. Depending on the context, civil society can mobilize to observe elections in order to: engage citizens in the electoral process; prevent fraud; expose problems and irregularities; provide an accurate measure of the quality of the election; promote confidence in the process and the results; and provide recommendations to improve the process for the next election. In the longer term, citizen election observation helps to ensure electoral integrity, and strengthens civil society's capacity to promote citizen participation, engage in political advocacy and foster government accountability during elections and well beyond the electoral cycle.
Produced in May 2018 in Tunisia