The Middle East Channel

Mideast Brief: Ennahda declared victor in Tunisian elections

Ennahda declared victor of Tunisian elections The moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, won over 41 percent of the vote in Tunisia’s first free elections, according to official election results released Thursday. The elections determined the make up of the 217-seat constituent assembly. Ennahda will receive 90 seats, while the left wing secularist parties CPR and Ettakatol ...

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Ennahda declared victor of Tunisian elections

The moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, won over 41 percent of the vote in Tunisia’s first free elections, according to official election results released Thursday. The elections determined the make up of the 217-seat constituent assembly. Ennahda will receive 90 seats, while the left wing secularist parties CPR and Ettakatol will get 30 and 21 respectively. Many Tunisians voiced concerns that Ennahda will impose Islamist law in a country known as one of the most liberal in the region. Ennahda addressed those concerns asserting they will not ban alcohol, impose Islamic banking, exclude women from government, or force women to wear headscarves. Ennahda has begun talks with CPR and Ettakatol to broker a coalition government. The release of the results was met with the election’s first incidence of violence when officials announced the removal of the Popular List party from the ballot upon allegations of campaign finance violations. Protesters attempted to attack government buildings in the town of Sidi Bouzid, the location where the revolution began in January.

Headlines  

  • Israel released 25 Egyptian prisoners in exchange for a U.S. Israeli, Ilan Grapel, in efforts to ease recent tensions according to Israeli legislator Israel Hasson, one of Grapel’s escorts.
  • NATO is expected to declare Monday the final day of the Libya mission after the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously for the operation’s end.
  • The Saudi Arabian Allegiance Council named conservative Prince Nayef as the next heir to the throne of 87-year-old King Abdullah.
  • Jordanian king named a reform minded cabinet a week after appointing a new prime minister who promised a government that will “ensure democracy, justice, transparency and integrity.”
  • A double explosion in a Shia neighborhood of Baghdad killed at least 36 people in the worst attack since President Obama announced the full withdrawal of U.S. troops by the end of the year.
  • The rescue of a 13-year-old boy raises hopes as the search for survivors of the Turkish earthquake continues.

Daily Snapshot

Tunisian Islamist Ennahdha Party founder Rached Ghannouchi speaks during a press conference in Tunis, on October 28, 2011. Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda party got to work on forming a coalition government after winning a strong mandate in the Arab Spring’s first elections. The party, leading the vote count after historic polls, has put forward its number two, Hamadi Jebali, as the next head of government, an executive party member told AFP on October 26 (FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images).

Arguments & Analysis

‘Tunisia’s elections: consolidating democracy’ (Ayman Ayoub, Open Democracy)

“The newly elected constituent assembly will now face the task of delivering what could be the Arab world’s pioneering democratic constitution, to be developed by a legitimate and representative body. The unquestioned legitimacy of the assembly, regardless of the exact balance of seats between the various parties, ensures that large parts of Tunisian society will feel directly included and involved in its work. The participation of such a big number of political parties and forces also shows the exceptional levels of expectation that the Tunisian people and its emerging elites have in these elections – albeit this very diversity also represents a technical challenge for both voters and the Instance Supérieure Independante pour les Elections (ISIE, the independent electoral management body).”

‘What Egypt might learn from Tunisia’ (Issandr El Amrani, Al Masry Al Youm)

“There is every reason to fear that both voter turn-out and voter confidence in Egypt will suffer from the opaque, confusing election process and the general climate of insecurity. No wonder many Egyptians are now so depressed. Seeing Tunisia’s success will only add to this glum feeling. It’s not clear that a reset button can be pressed, as desirable as this may be. The SCAF is not about to abandon power, or even appoint a more independent government. Political forces are invested in the coming elections and the clout they think they will obtain through them, even though the parliament will, in fact, have no executive power and the country will continue to be ruled by the army.”

Youth in the Middle East and the job market’ (Ibrahim Saif & Joulan Abdul Khalek, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)

“Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 account for over 70 percent of the unemployed in Qatar, over 60 percent in Egypt, and over half in Syria and Bahrain (see chart). Unemployment takes a personal toll on youth, but it also means that young people are less able to contribute to society. Most unemployed young people, for example, are unmarried and live with their parents. This makes it difficult for the parents to save and improve their station in life.”

 Twitter: @casey_mary

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