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Tunisian youth launch 'Les Misérables' electoral list

In 2011 we voted for parties that betrayed us so we decided to run for election ourselves, says Les Misérables candidate

Karem Yehia from Tunisia , Tuesday 21 Oct 2014
Les Misérables
Number of Les Misérables electoral list members in front of the campaigns' tent Oct. 21, 2014 (Photo: Ahram online)
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A group of young people in Tunisia have launched an electoral list called Les Misérables, named after the famous nineteenth century novel by Victor Hugo.

The list, which is running in just one of the country's 33 constituencies, seven of which are abroad, in the upcoming parliamentary election, is campaigning with the slogan: "Les Misérables is hope of the next generation."

Most of the candidates are unemployed young people. The official unemployment rate in Tunisia exceeds 15 percent.

Les Misérables is among 1,327 lists running in elections scheduled for 26 October. It is very different to the other parties running for election, such as the Islamist Ennahda Movement headed by Rashid Al-Ghannushi, or the Nida movement headed by Beji Caid Essebsi.

Ahram Online met with some Les Misérables candidates in downtown Tunis.

“We are the young people who made the revolution, but we still suffering from marginalisation and poverty,” said Ali Ben Mussa.

“In 2011 we voted for parties in the assembly that later betrayed us... so we decided to run for election ourselves,” Mussa added.

The list's platform is printed on a single page of yellow paper, written in green ink. It focuses on administrative reforms, giving more powers to municipalities and more support for the “coming generation.”

A striking matter is that there are no pictures of female candidates, even though by law they must make up fifty percent of each list.

Mussa said their females are not ''wearing hijab or niqab, but we did not print their pictures to avoid them from being harassed.'

Political analyst Kamal Al-Sharny said the decision not to use photographs of female candidates was “funny and unusual.”

Tunisia traditionally has less of a problem with sexual harassment than other Arab countries.

Sharny said there was no link between the list and either Salafists or Ennahda.

 

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