Elections in Tunisia

Adanna Uwazurike November 01, 2011

Elections in TunisiaSimilar to the various revolutions that occurred in Egypt, Syria and Libya, earlier this year the nation of Tunisia, the northernmost nation in Africa, also had its own revolution. It was an intensive campaign of civil resistance that began in December 2010 and ended in the ousting of longtime President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011.  The demonstrations against the government were fueled by high unemployment, food inflation and corruption.

Gearing up for the nation’s first democratic election, more than 90 percent of registered voters turned out to vote in Tunisia's elections. The country's first-ever democratic elections are being hailed at home and abroad as a triumph for the Arab Spring. No results had been issued 14 hours after polls closed in Tunisia's first-ever electoral contest without a pre-determined outcome, held nine months after the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali that sparked region-wide uprisings.

The Islamist Ennahda party was widely predicted to win the most votes but falls short of a majority in a new 217-member assembly that will rewrite the constitution and appoint a president to form a caretaker government. After a day marked by snaking queues of voters at polling stations countrywide, several political parties held gatherings in the capital overnight without claiming an outcome. The people have voted, democracy has triumphed," the daily La Presse said in bold, red letters- the color of the Tunisian flag-on its front page Monday.

Violent protests, however,  broke out in Tunisia over the results of the election. The Islamist al-Nahda party won 90 of the 217 seats in the assembly that will rewrite the constitution, appoint a president and form a caretaker government, elections chief Kamel Jendoubi said. Witnesses said more than 2000 young people marched on al-Nahda's headquarters in Sidi Bouzid at the news of the annulments and pelted security forces with stones. A similar protest was under way in the town of Regueb, about 50 kilometres from Sidi Bouzid, said witnesses, where a gunshot was fired at al-Nahda offices.

The violence followed the official preliminary results of the election –  the first of the Arab Spring – which gave Ennadha 90 seats in the new assembly, with 40 seats to independents, 30 to the Congress for the Republic, 21 for Ekkatakol, 19 for al Aridah and 17 for the Popular Democratic Pole. Mr Hamdi’s TV channel later declared that all the al Aridah candidates would be giving up their seats. Trouble broke out on as the electoral commission annulled several seats of the al Aridah (Progressive List) party after receiving about 3,000 complaints of electoral irregularities. The party’s president, Hechmi Hamdi – a London-based businessman – is known to have been close to the ousted dictator Zine al Abidine Ben Ali. “He does not hide this fact,” Said Ferjani, a senior party official of Ennadha – whose office in Sidi Bouzid was partially burned down in the unrest.  

Last Edited by: Updated: June 19, 2018


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