Tunisians Go to the Polls This Weekend
Tunisia’s second round of parliamentary election since the 2011 Jasmine Revolution, will take place on Sunday, Oct. 26. Over 50 parties are expected to run in these elections, and predictions concerning the outcomes differ greatly. The parliamentary elections will be followed on Nov. 23, by presidential elections.
Some Tunisian believers doubt that the political process will bring any real change, and believe that all parties will only offer the same policies once they are elected. Many fear that this belief will create an atmosphere of indifference and few citizens will actually decide to vote.
Other Tunisian Christians fear that the Islamic party (Ennahda) will win the elections, as they did in 2011, because much of the population is uninformed about the differences between the various parties running for office. Many simply vote for the biggest Islamic party by default, believing that the larger parties best represent their point of view.
In Tunisia, listed as #30 on the 2014 World Watch List, Christians face persecution both from the moderately Islamic government and from aggressive Salafist groups, who operate with impunity in the country. The initial promise of the 2011 revolution, which sparked the Arab Spring, turned out to be a disappointment for both liberals and Christians in Tunisia. The situation in the country is rapidly deteriorating. While expat Christians experience a relatively large amount of freedom, Muslim-background believers face increasing pressure from family and the authorities. A number of violent incidents against Christians were reported this year, breaking the trend of relative religious tolerance.
Christians in Tunisia are asking for our prayers, specifically that the elections will be peaceful and that the new government will be more willing to protect the interests of Christians.
Father, we pray for Christians as they head to the polls this week. Grant them much wisdom in the midst of many confusing choices. Encourage them with Your presence in the midst of discouragement with the political process. We pray that this election and the one to follow next month will be peaceful and that the new leaders will rule with godly justice. We pray against hopelessness among believers, turning the object of their hope from the government to the presence of Christ in them! Protect and encourage them in the midst of the increasing persecution they suffer. In the name of Jesus, our only true hope in this life and the next, Amen.