Mabrouka Mbarek, candidate of Tunisia’s leftist party Congress for the Republic (CPR), calls for a new, transparent, and democratic Tunisia, in which people can have faith in their political leaders. She is running in the voting district “Americas and the Rest of Europe” – an area where approximately 120,000 Tunisians live.
Born and raised in France, Mbarek has worked in Yemen before moving to the United States, where she has been living now for several years. Her family, however, comes originally from a small town in the governorate of Sfax. Mbarek and her family have kept close ties with Tunisia, speaking solely Arabic at home. “I feel Tunisian,” she says.
After graduating in law, economics, and business, Mbarek worked for several years in the corporate sector. She says that she learnt about good governance during her employment as auditor, controlling and monitoring big national companies. “I had to make sure that there is no fraud, that there is no money laundering, and that there are no problems of corruption.”
Mbarek decided to reorient herself professionally following work experience in the humanitarian field. “I felt that I could be more useful for the non-profit sector. That’s why I started to work for humanitarian organizations. I used my background in economics and law to help humanitarian organizations to organize themselves locally.”
Since the ouster of Ben Ali, Mbarek has been actively helping to build up her own country. She became politically active because, as she says, “The tone of the top is key. Whoever is on the top gives the culture. To deal with problems, you have to deal with the top first. Corruption, fraud and mismanagement can only decrease once Tunisia has a transparent, democratic government. The government has to set the example.”
Mbarek decided to join the CPR, saying, “It is a party that never negotiated with the dictatorship. Moncef Marzouki has been calling for civil disobedience for a long time. All the leaders of the CPR did so much for Tunisia. They put their private life at stake for the freedom of Tunisia.”
The CPR – in contrast to many other parties – does not accept any external funding, for example from the business sector. “We refuse the money because we do not want businessman to have an influence on us. And we think that it is not ethical to sell politics as you sell shampoo.”
“We don’t have money, but we have motivation.” A clear vision and fierce determination was the driving force behind the Tunisian Revolution. The coming weeks will show if it is enough to also succeed on the political front.