Islamist Party in Tunisia Concedes to Secularists

Oct 30, 2014

Credit Mohamed Messara/European Pressphoto Agency

By Carlotta Gall

The secular Nidaa Tounes party won the largest number of seats in Tunisia’s parliamentary elections on Monday, defeating its main rival, the Islamist party Ennahda, which just three years ago swept to power as the North African nation celebrated the fall of its longtime dictator in the Arab Spring revolution.

Though just a few official results had been released on Monday night, Ennahda’s leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, called Beji Caid Essebsi, the 87-year-old leader of Nidaa Tounes, on Monday evening to congratulate him. Mr. Ghannouchi then threw a large street party for party workers outside Ennahda’s campaign headquarters, with music and fireworks.

Ennahda’s former foreign minister, Rafik Abdessalem, said that by the party’s count, Ennahda had won 69 to 73 seats, while Nidaa Tounes had most likely won 83 seats.

“We accept the result,” Mr. Abdessalem said. “There are some irregularities, but we consider we succeeded in this process to hold transparent democratic elections.”


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5 comments on “Islamist Party in Tunisia Concedes to Secularists

  • @OP – Ennahda’s former foreign minister, Rafik Abdessalem, said that by the party’s count, Ennahda had won 69 to 73 seats, while Nidaa Tounes had most likely won 83 seats.

    That is progress, but it is 83 seats in the 217-seat chamber, so they will need to form a coalition.



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  • It’s a start Alan, but I agree with you, it’s going to be tricky to follow through on.

    There would however seem to be perhaps a glimmer of hope on the horizon in that IS is becoming a pariah faction across the World.

    Although of course being “despised” – emphasis on the last syllable – is part and parcel of Martyrdom.

    Billy Connolly is spot on when he calls them “Fucking pricks!”



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  • this bit of news hasn’t been told enough. As far as I can tell it’s the only arab spring nation that hasn’t descended into sectarian chaos and has actually managed two free elections since the revolution.

    The fact it’s a secular party winning most seats is of course encouraging. just hope it can influence neighbouring countries to embrace democracy without fear of being put to death for thinking the wrong thing



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  • “There are some irregularities, but we consider we succeeded in this process to hold transparent democratic elections”

    Wow, that sounds downright reasonable and sane. Moreso than even American politics.



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