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    Tunisians Weigh in on a Second Term for Obama

    By Kevin Ivey | Nov 7 2012 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

    Tags: Barack Obama ,Mitt Romney ,President ,Republican ,US ,

    U.S. President Barack Obama

    Election projections in the United States indicate that Democratic incumbent President Barack Obama has likely secured a second term in office, scoring a victory over his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.

    The most recent statistics from American news outlet CNN project that Obama scored at least the 270 electoral votes necessary to win reelection. The election proved to be close and was not decided until the swing state of Ohio was finally projected to go in Obama’s favor late Tuesday night in the US.

    Tunisians weighed in on the potential effects of a second term for Obama.

    “Barack Obama suits us better. Mitt Romney has promised us hell in retaliation for the events in front of the U.S. embassy,” said Safa Chihi, a young Tunisian.

    “I like Barack Obama because he is young. He respects all people, and he is a black guy. He doesn’t belong to any one group,” said Myriam Lakhoua, a student at the Tunisian Music Conservatory.

    Most agree that they prefer Obama to Romney and that foreign policy will be the most important issue for them going forward.

    “Both candidates are good for the U.S. but Mitt Romney is more similar to George Bush. I think that both Romney and Bush are interested in more war. If there is a war under Romney, I hope that it is away from us in the Arab world,” said Belgacem, as he was perusing through a downtown bookstore.

    “I hope Obama stops supporting moderate Islamists in the Arab world. I want the US out of Arab politics. I want the support of free and fair elections, and nothing else,” added an excited Lakhoua.

    According to Ahmed Ounaies, former foreign affairs minister, Obama is seen by many as the first of modern American presidents to truly understand the Arab situation.

    “We consider him one of the very rare U.S. presidents of our time, who understands the situation in the Arab world, in Africa, and all over the world. He has the right sensitivity to these areas, particularly in the Arab world.”

    Ounaies’ praise for Obama is still tinged with disillusionment. “We were disappointed with his first term but believe that in the second term he will address the issues in the right way.”

    Ikbal Messadaa, a Constituent Assembly member from the Congress for the Republic party, said that so far Obama has proven a partner to the Tunisian government.

    “So far with Obama, the relationship has been pretty good. He has been very supportive of the revolution and democratic transition. We wish that this continues,” adding that the U.S. has been very active both in guiding the transition to democracy and investing in business to increase economic growth.

    “The U.S. so far has been developing programs in support of the transition, training people, and investing in businesses. The U.S. government is working towards investment in Tunisia,” she said, adding that Obama’s support for the revolution has been “clear.”

    Both agree that moving forward is important regardless of who wins.

    “We would like both parties in Washington to realize that our future is with the Western world. Our roots, our past, our culture are based on Arab and Islamic unity, but our future is with the West,” said Ounaies. He continued to say that he would like to see “deep reforms in Tunisian society while maintaining our cultural and religious traditions.”

    “There are still problems like security and unemployment,” said Messadaa. “We have always had only one party, so with different parties, it is difficult to deal with the transition after the revolution. People are demanding a lot from the government, and we are looking for help from the US government.”

    She concluded by recalling the recent riots outside of the U.S. embassy in Tunis.

    “During the last events at the embassy, every one saw this as a sad event. There are good relations between the US and Tunisia. Tunisians were very upset by these events. Keeping a good relationship with the US is important to Tunisians.”

    Myriam Ben Ghazi contributed reporting.

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      • Monty /

        Dabbouz, foreign affairs are not decided by the mood of the president! The day the Arabs will have a sufficiently strong lobby, things will change. All we can hope for now is that Obama stands by Tunisia for such a difficult time and assists our beloved country in its political progress!

        • dabbouz /

          true…but the Arabs shouldn’t just have a strong lobby in the US, but a stronger economy, educations system, military etc. Then we can talk…

      • angela /

        Obama and Israel ….are you referring to the fact that he refused to visit that country since he became president…..hmmm and he did refuse to meet the Israeli Prime minister….so what exactly are you talking about. Obama is for Palestine and Romney was clearly not….Romney was for no poor people and no black people…..what exactly do you want…..or are you another one of those people who sit and pontificate from the armchair. Also dont you think its about time that people take time to be responsibility for ourselves and our own countries. Really!!!! stop blaming

        • dabbouz /

          @ angela: W visited Israel twice in his last and 8th year in office, that doesn’t make him the least supportive of Israel.

          Visiting Israel or not has nothing to do with the radical pro-Israel policies of the US president/congress.

          I think it is withing our rights to ask that the US has an even handed policy in the Middle East.

          On another level, Obama is not “for Palestine” as you ignorantly portray, he wouldn’t have threatened to veto Palestine’s legitimate demand to be a a full member of the UN (pretty much the only country in the world that opposes a membership along Israel of course).

          PS. What’s worse than an ignorant is an ignorant ignorant of “her” ignorance.

          • angela /

            you always are so nasty to me is it cos i am female, I dont know who ‘W’ is but then I am perhaps too stupid to know. Around September 2010 at the UN Obama called for the Palestine people to have their own state. As far as I understood the whole issue was that the Palestine people wanted the status so that it would give recognition to them as a state. That apparently was not thought to be the right way to do it. Palestine should be a state and everyone should support it but as with the blacks in South Africa, many of their own people stood by and did nothing…A bit like the arab countries that are surrounding Palestine.

            No doubt you will reply with some other personal attack but hey your coming across as a pig so go grunt. The middle east is a complex situation because of the people involved. Many of the leaders have sold their people out to the west and the west in some cases has exploited that greed…The Saudi’s for instance who behave pious within Saudi then behave like animals when outside of the country. no doubt you who is so intelligent will have many more examples…but they are all variations on one race right……Israel is not ever going to seek real compromise the politicians are so steeped in racism and hatred they they dont want to listen….bit like the Salifasts really. So why does the middle east not come up with ideas instead of relying on a country who’s values you really do hate.

            Obama has not been supported in anything he has tried to do from within the country because of issues of race and colour. His journey has been hard…However it does not stop discontented countries to lead themselves and not keep looking for a scape goat now does it. People in the MIddle east should take control of their own affairs and stop whining and looking for others to blame. you on the other hand should go do what you do best and stop being personal…..

    1. Monty /

      This is a great day for Tunisia! The win of Obama, supportive of our country and open to the world, means a lot to us! Obama will hopefully continue to give a push to Tunisia on the right path for Democracy. I can see that all Tunisians in America are staying up late here to celebrate a much awaited for victory for Barack Obama. GOBAMA! :)

    2. Ahmed /

      Why didn’t interview people that actually live in the U.S. instead of a random dude in centre ville who has little credentials to comment about anything really. If you guys are interested, the marriage amendment is not likely to pass either in Minnesota. It was passed now in 30 states already.

    3. Seif Adin /

      All it takes to understand the ‘mood’ of Obama towards the Israelis is the very cool congratulatory message sent by Netanyahu. Netanyahu now faces an even more awkward time with Obama and the re-energised critics in the U.S. who accused him on Wednesday of backing Romney in the U.S. presidential election.

      With Iran being the main issue in his conservative agenda, Netanyahu will have to deal with a strengthened second-term Democratic president -all of this after four years of frosty dealings with the Obama administration – and a rift over how to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

      Netanyahu faces his own re-election battle in January, and polls give him practically no chance of losing – but, perceptions that he has mishandled Israel’s relationship with the U.S. have been seized on by his adversaries.

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