Just a short note based on some interesting conversations I’ve had in the last few days. An interesting, and under-reported story is that of Moncef Marzouki. He leads the Congres pour la Republique party and was a longtime opponent of the Ben Ali regime.
Marzouki is widely credited with being determined and intelligent. However, he has made some critical missteps with the Tunisian electorate. The most widely talked about story among Tunisians is what he said upon returning to Tunisia after the revolution. He arrived and announced that he would be the next president of the republic. This came off as arrogant and opportunistic to a country that had just taken its destiny into its own hands. He was also criticized by secular Tunisians for having a dialogue with Ennahdha at a time when most secular parties preferred to ignore Tunisia’s largest party.
Marzouki and the CPR have gained followers in recent months. Through straight talk and a campaign that reaches a lot of voters that are turned off by the blatant partisan nature of the electoral campaign, his party could be a real surprise this Sunday. His party has never polled very well, but Marzouki pulls from a lot of different movements, which could mean that the CPR will receive a larger share of some of the undecided voters. As of the last polling data, undecideds accounted for 40 percent of the voting population. One interesting aspect, though decidedly unscientific, is the kind of people that support the CPR. They are often young, and they have hesitated between different parties across the political spectrum – from Ennahdha supporters to PDM supporters.