Tunisia’s Election

Tunisians are voting today for a Constitutional Assembly, ten months after the fall of President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali.  Despite considerable turbulence along the way, including growing political polarization and ongoing economic frustration, the early reports on election day are encouraging.  Turnout is high and voters enthusiastic, and thus far there are few signs of ...

Erik Churchill
Erik Churchill
Erik Churchill

Tunisians are voting today for a Constitutional Assembly, ten months after the fall of President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali.  Despite considerable turbulence along the way, including growing political polarization and ongoing economic frustration, the early reports on election day are encouraging.  Turnout is high and voters enthusiastic, and thus far there are few signs of any official manipulation or fraud.  This is an exciting day for Tunisia and for the whole Arab world.  The election results will only set in motion new political struggles over the formation of a government and the contents of a new Constitution, and won't solve the deep economic problems of the country. But they are a promising and essential starting point for the creation of a legitimate, accountable and democratically elected civilian government.

We will have a lot of coverage of the elections results in the coming days.  While we wait for the returns, check out recent coverage of Tunisia on Foreign Policy's The Middle East Channel:

-Putting Tunisia's Democracy to the Test, by Erik Churchill

Tunisians are voting today for a Constitutional Assembly, ten months after the fall of President Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali.  Despite considerable turbulence along the way, including growing political polarization and ongoing economic frustration, the early reports on election day are encouraging.  Turnout is high and voters enthusiastic, and thus far there are few signs of any official manipulation or fraud.  This is an exciting day for Tunisia and for the whole Arab world.  The election results will only set in motion new political struggles over the formation of a government and the contents of a new Constitution, and won’t solve the deep economic problems of the country. But they are a promising and essential starting point for the creation of a legitimate, accountable and democratically elected civilian government.

We will have a lot of coverage of the elections results in the coming days.  While we wait for the returns, check out recent coverage of Tunisia on Foreign Policy’s The Middle East Channel:

Putting Tunisia’s Democracy to the Test, by Erik Churchill

Tunisia’s Test, by Fadil Aliriza

Tunisia’s Surprising New Islamists, by Ellen Knickmeyer

Divine Election, by Don Duncan

Don’t Tunisians want to vote?, by Erik Churchill

Suspicion and Strategy in the New Tunisia, by Chris Alexander

Tunisians agree on more than they realize, by Nathan Brown

Tunisia’s New al-Nahda, by Marc Lynch

Tunisia’s Forgotten Revolutionaries, by Lauren E. Bohn

And for more background, download POMEPS Briefing #1, Tunisia: Protests and Prospects for Change, from January 25, 2011 .

Marc Lynch is associate professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University, where he is the director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and of the Project on Middle East Political Science. He is also a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security. He is the author of The Arab Uprising (March 2012, PublicAffairs).

He publishes frequently on the politics of the Middle East, with a particular focus on the Arab media and information technology, Iraq, Jordan, Egypt, and Islamist movements. Twitter: @abuaardvark

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