Tunisian Elections Brings Nidaa Toures Victory Over Ennahda, Other Parties
Al Jazeera reported on the results from Sunday’s national parliamentary elections in Tunisia. According to reports, the secular Nidaa Toures party just edged out the Islamist Ennahda party, winning 85 seats, with Ennahda winning 69 seats.
This was an important election, as Tunisia continues its path away from the authoritarian regime of Zine El-Abedine Ben Ali. According to Al Jazeera,
“By voting for Nidaa Tounes, Tunisians appeared to prefer the country’s long-established elites to Ennahda. During campaign, Ennahda cast itself as a party that learned from the past, but Nidaa Tounes appeared to have capitalized on criticism that the Islamist party had mismanaged the economy and had failed to tackle hardline militants.”
However, it was not enough votes to control the government themselves, and so they will have to work with other political parties. And while Ennahda wants to be included, it remains to be seen whether Nidaa Toures will want to have Ennahda in the coalition (early statements have suggested that they are not interested in this option) (Al Jazeera, 2014).
Regardless of the reasons as to why people voted for Nidaa Tounes or Ennahda, it seems that the elections went off without major issues. This is crucial, as it continues to show that Tunisia is indeed continuing its democratic institutions in Tunisia.
It is also important as it shows that–despite some of the hate-mongering against Political Islamist parties, that Islamist parties are different, and that there are a number of parties who are committed to the democratic process. Again, this does not mean that one has to adhere to the secular, Islamist, or other policies. But it is critical to highlight the success of this election, in a line of elections following the Arab Uprisings in Tunisia.
Lastly, the elections in Tunisia are another example of Islam and democracy co-existing. Some have tried to argue that the two are incompatible, yet millions of Muslims live in democracies, and continue to support democratic principles. Plus, we have to keep in mind that it was many Western state leaders that were supportive of the Ben Ali regime, which was one of the most controlling in the world.