Islamist party sweeps Tunisian vote

2011-10-28 07:38

kalahari.com

Tunis - Tunisia's main Islamist party emerged victorious Thursday in the Arab Spring's first elections, taking 90 of 217 seats in the new assembly, nine months after the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Violent protests broke out in the central town of Sidi Bouzid, where the uprising started last December, after the provisional results were announced, witnesses and the interior ministry said.

The Islamist Ennahda party now has the single-biggest share of the assembly that will rewrite the constitution, appoint a president and form a caretaker government, elections chief Kamel Jendoubi told journalists in Tunis.

He also announced the invalidation of six candidates' lists of the Petition for Justice and Development, including one in Sidi Bouzid, notably due to "financial irregularities".

The group, led by Hechmi Haamdi, a rich London-based businessman said to have close ties to Ben Ali, still managed fourth place with 19 assembly seats.

Following the announcement of the invalidations however, Haamdi said he was withdrawing his candidates from the assembly.

Haamdi had campaigned from London via his satellite television station al-Mustakilla.

In one broadcast earlier Thursday he said he "feared" his supporters would display anger after Ennahda refused to include his grouping in negotiations to form a new government.

Witnesses said more than 2 000 young people marched on Ennahda's headquarters in Sidi Bouzid when the results were announced and pelted security forces with stones. An AFP correspondent said they broke doors and windows of the Ennahda building and burnt tyres on the town's main road.

Acts of distraction

According to the TAP news agency, "acts of destruction and pillaging also took place at the municipality".

Witnesses reported a similar protest in the town of Regueb, some 50km from Sidi Bouzid, where a gunshot was fired at an Ennahda office.

On the main road in the capital Tunis however, the results were met with a cacophony of car hooters blaring, as people hung out of car windows singing and waving Ennahda and Tunisian flags.

The provisional results put two leftist parties in second and third place after Sunday's historic polls: the Congress for the Republic (CPR) obtaining 30 seats, and Ettakatol 21 seats.

The ISIE electoral commission said political groups had two days to lodge challenges to the results.

Ennahda was banned under Ben Ali's regime and only registered as a political party in March.

But on Wednesday, preempting the official news of its victory, Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi said it had started coalition negotiations and intended to form a new government "within no more than a month."

The party, which presents itself as having a moderate Islamist agenda, has put forward Ennahda's number two, Hamadi Jebali, as candidate for prime minister.

The new assembly will determine the country's system of government and how to guarantee basic liberties, including women's rights, which many in Tunisia fear Ennahda would seek to diminish despite its assurances to the contrary.

Analysts have said that Ennahda, even in a majority alliance, would be unable to "dictate" any programme to the assembly.

Individual liberties

It will have to appease its coalition partners, a moderate-minded society, and the international community on whose investment and tourism the country relies heavily, they argue.

Ennahda said it had met bankers and stockbrokers earlier on Thursday to reassure them.

The electoral system was designed to include as many parties as possible in drafting the new constitution, expected to take a year, ahead of fresh national polls.

Ennahda's Jebali on Wednesday signalled his intention to form an executive with the highest scoring leftist parties, singling out the CPR and Ettakatol.

He also stressed they had no intention "to impose a constitution ... that abrogates the freedom of belief, individual liberties, the legal position of women and their place in society.

"Is it reasonable to paralyse a sector as vital as tourism by interdicting alcoholic beverages and bathing suits?" he asked.

"These are individual liberties guaranteed for foreigners as much as for Tunisians."

Tourism represents about seven percent of GDP - bringing in €780m from January to September 2011, a drop of 39.4% from 2010.

The CPR has defended its coalition talks with the Islamist party.

"No, no, no it is not the devil and we do not make pacts with the devil," party leader Moncef Marzouki said on Wednesday.

"One must not take them for the Taliban of Tunisia. It is a moderate part of Islam."

The Progressive Democratic Party, which was polling in second place before the election, came fifth with 17 seats.

Read more on:    zine el abidine ben ali  |  tunisia  |  north africa  |  tunisia elections
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

DA wants to empower fishing communities - Zille

DA leader Helen Zille says the party has a plan for harbours and small-scale fishing communities.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 8520

Wi-Fi enabled With the BlackBerry Curve 8520 connect to your home...

From R1100.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may find yourself putting in that extra effort on looking good and making an impression. ...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.