SHAFAQNA – Tunisians will head to the polls this Sunday (October 26th) amid fears that the relentless violence in neighbouring Libya could disrupt the legislative vote. With no political solution to the Libyan crisis in sight, fighting continues in western Libya, near the border with Tunisia. Battles between Libya Dawn and tribal forces in the area have claimed dozens of lives.
Last week, Tunisian authorities sent military reinforcements to the border crossings with Libya, in case of any security problems.
Security is one of the most important priorities for Tunisian officials ahead of the poll, which will see more than 5 million voters elect a 217-member parliament.
Tunisian Foreign Minister Mongi Hamdi has expressed concern about the security situation next-door. Hamdi said that the situation in Libya had repercussions on all neighbouring countries, particularly Tunisia.
“I do not believe that we can achieve economic progress or stability as long as there is a war on our side,” he said, adding that that Tunisia was ready to co-operate on security with Algeria, Egypt, Morocco, and Libya.
Tunisia supports the involvement of all Libyans in a dialogue leading to a peaceful political solution and the renunciation of violence, he said.
“We are trying with neighbouring countries in order to encourage them to dialogue because the repercussions of the situation in Libya have a serious impact on Egypt, Tunisia, and Algeria. The heaviest impact is on Tunisia because it has about two million Libyans,” the minister said.
“Therefore the consequences and the economic, social, political, and security burden are very heavy. So we deal with the crisis as if it is internal, yet on our external borders with Libya,” Hamdi added.
For his part, President Moncef Marzouki said during his speech on the 66th session of the General Assembly of the United Nations on September 25th that the volatile situation in Libya was a source of concern to Tunisia.
Yet Alaya Allani, a researcher on Islamist movements, dispelled these fears and said that the situation in Libya would not have an impact in Tunisia. He added that the election would be held in good conditions, despite the presence of security threats in Tunisia.
“Thanks to the readiness of the available security in Tunisia, Libyan terrorist movements will not try to enter Tunisia,” he stated.
Tunisia could play an important role in Libya as a result of its neutral stance, Allani added, suggesting that the elections in Tunisia would have a positive impact.
Source : http://allafrica.com/stories/201410221162.html