TUNIS, Tunisia, Oct. 20 (UPI) -- Tunisian elections for a constitutional assembly are historic, though its people might not be familiar with the political landscape, Human Rights Watch said.
A protest suicide sparked the Jasmine Revolution in December that ended President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali's tenure after more than 23 years in power.
Human Rights Watch said the interim government legitimized 100 political parties in the country. The rights group said, however, that many Tunisians might not be familiar with the new political landscape.
"The vote for Tunisia's constituent assembly will set the course for the country's future," Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East and North Africa director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement. "It is important for voters to know where the parties stand and to make clear to the people they elect what they expect from their new constitution and government."
Critics say former regime officials are plotting a coup and are working behind the scenes to block true reform in Tunisia. Regional concerns of al-Qaida affiliates in North Africa are exacerbated by conflict in neighboring Libya.
In September, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said during talks in Washington with Tunisian Foreign Minister Mohamed Mouldi Kefi that the Tunisian revolution "changed the course of history."