'Nchoof' website enables Tunisians to monitor elections
By Houda Trabelsi for Magharebia in Tunis – 05/10/11
Tunisian citizens can now use the online space to act as election watchdogs and chart their democratic future. Nchoof.org, launched on Sunday (October 2nd), enables Tunisians to present their complaints of malpractice during the electoral campaign and vote counting.
The Citizenship Alliance for Elections Monitoring, which comprises associations "My Voice", "Political Awareness" and Internet Society Tunisie (ISOC), developed the initiative.
The goal is "to allow for monitoring the elections on a daily and timely basis, unlike traditional monitoring, where the results do not appear until after the elections", according to Political Awareness head Sofiene Chourabi.
"This site contains all data relating to the elections in addition to a map that can identify where to register complaints," Chourabi added. "The Citizenship Alliance for Elections Monitoring will inform all relevant parties in the electoral process – the Independent High Electoral Commission, political parties, independent lists, etc. – of the existence of this site, which can be an authority charged with helping them to intervene to ensure free and transparent elections."
He added that citizens could also send their complaints through mobile phone text messages.
Moez Ben Salah, of "My Voice", said that all information, photos and tapes posted would be verified before being published on the site.
"In addition to receiving all citizens' complaints and publishing them during the elections period, this virtual space will assume the task of monitoring all stages of the electoral process with its various parties and encouraging citizens to take part in shaping the future of their country," he added.
According to the website description, it is "the property of all Tunisians, wherever they are … both inside and outside the country".
The site aims to publicise any abuses and violations during the Constituent Assembly electoral process in order to put an end to them and ensure accountability.
The idea of monitoring the country's first democratic vote has thrilled many Tunisians.
"I think it's a good idea, especially since young people in Tunisia have become addicted to the Internet," Salwa Mahjoub told Magharebia. "We must thus bring their concerns to them via their computer screens in order to involve them in Tunisian public affairs."
"I was very impressed by this initiative, which will give us the opportunity to participate in making the upcoming elections a success and instilling the democratisation we have long waited for," Mourad Hassine said. "But more important is following up complaints from people in reality, so this website is not just propaganda."
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