New York Times Editorial On Tunisia’s Presidential Elections
On December 25th, 2014, the New York Times wrote an editorial on the recent Presidential elections in Tunisia. In their piece, which was entitled, “Tunisia Wins Again,” they discuss the importance of the elections with regards to Tunisia’s transition to democracy following the regime of Zine el-Abedine Ben Ali and the Arab Uprisings. In the recent elections, with 55.68 percent of the vote, Beji Caid Essebi beat interim president Moncef Marzouki, who won 44.32 percent of the vote.
What was important about these elections was of course the fact that another transition of power took place. As the New York Times explains, Marzouki. They explain that “After the results were announced on Monday, Mr. Marzouki conceded defeat, and Mr. Essebsi made a speech in which he thanked his rival and promised to “work together without excluding anyone.” Mr. Essebsi also praised the people who took part and died in the 2011 revolution.”
And while Essebi ran as a secularist, as the piece explains, there will need to be cooperation with Ennahda, the main Islamist party in Tunisia.
However, all of these developments are quite positive; Tunisia continues to produce democratic result after democratic result. This example shows that democracy is clearly possible.
It also shows that the democracy gap is not one related to the Middle East or Islam, but rather, a complex set of factors that include but are often not limited to outside interests, domestic corruption and power struggles, amongst other factors.
As Egypt has moved to authoritarianism, and as other countries in the region (such as Syria and Libya) have significant internal conflicts, it is clearly possible that democracy can flourish. And it must be remembered that in late January of 2014, the Islamist party Ennahda, who one electoral elections after Ben Ali, gave power to a caretaker government, which was another key event in the road to democracy.
Let us hope that Tunisia serves as an example for all states in that there can be moves to increase the ability for citizens to express their voice with regards to whom they wish to lead them.