Tunisian Elections

This article discusses the 2014 Tunisian Elections. Here, we shall discuss the main political parties in Tunisia, the electoral results, and why the votes went the way that they did. We shall also analyze these elections in the context of democracy in Tunisia.

2014 Tunisian Elections

The Tunisian Parliamentary elections in late 2014 (October 26th, 2014) were primarily between two of the more popular parties in Tunisia: the Nidaa Tounes party, which is seen as the “secular, modernity party” and Ennahda, the main Islamist party in the country. The different political parties in Tunisia were running for 217 seats. In the 2014 Tunisian elections, Nidaa Tounes defeated Ennahda, winning 85 seats, whereas Ennahda won 69 seats. Other parties such as UPL won 16. This was a major victory for Nidaa Tounes, given that they won 37.56 percent of the overall vote. For Ennahda, they dropped, from a previous 85 seats. Overall, Ennahda won 27.79 percent of the vote.

However, in 2015, the Tunisian Prime Minister, Habib Essid, in working to form a unity government following the elections, also included the Islamist party Ennahda. And while the majority of parliament was acceptable of this decision, some in Nidaa Tounes are not, arguing that their political positions are starkly different from those of Ennahda.

Nida Tounes is a political party that  “came together in 2012 as an ad hoc coalition to oppose the influence of Ennahda, which won a plurality of seats in Tunisia’s first post-revolution parliament in an election that saw secularists, liberals and leftists split their votes among a wide array of parties. As a coalition composed of trade unionists, leftists, businesspeople, human rights advocates and members of the former regime, ideological tensions have existed within Nidaa from the beginning” (Reidy, 2015).

However, it seems that the government’s issues they will be working on are things that many of the parties have a great deal of interest and agreement on. Namely, they will be working to fight terrorism in the country, as well as trying to find ways to build Tunisia’s economy (BBC, 2015).

Overall, there are a couple of things that can be taken from these elections. For one, what is great to see are competitive elections. This is something that many of the Arab Spring states hoped for, but few have reached. There is a civil war in Libya, where open democratic elections (with high citizen participation) are not had. In Egypt, the military under Abdel Fattah el-Sisi overthrew the Mohammed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and has increased his authoritarian influence ever since. And in Syria, the civil war continues, years after the initial protests.

In addition, it seems that many in Tunisia are divided on who they think can best run the government. However, with the unity government, it will be interesting to see if they can deal with issues such as the economy quickly enough for people in the country.

Thus, the Tunisian elections show that not only is democracy alive and well in the country, but that leaders are working to try to find ways to build a functioning and effective government as they look to solve the challenges that exist within the state.

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