vendredi 28 octobre 2011

Confirmation : Islamists win minority government amidst controversy

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Ennahda.

The full results of the Tunisian elections have been announced at 10:00 pm local time by the Independent supreme instance for the elections (ISIE) at the Tunis press center.

ISIE president, Kamel Jendoubi, revealed to the media that Ennadha obtained 41% of the vote (90 seats on 217). As predicted, Tunisia’s next government will be a minority, so it is safe to say coalitions and alliances will probably arise. Also noteworthy is that 24% of elected officials are women – quite a large number for a first time election and even more so for an Arab country.

CPR and Ettakatol have finished far behind with 30 and 21 seats respectively, giving them second and third positions. The PDP, after experiencing a terrible start in the diaspora, made a surprise comeback and scored 17 seats to finish fifth. Their leader, Ahmed Néjib Chebbi, has stated that they will remain in the opposition and won’t accept any alliance with Ennadha.

The 40 remaining seats were won by a variety of parties and independent candidates. The PDM and Afek Tounes, who had hoped to obtain between 10 and 15, were disappointed to learn that they had only gotten five and four. For a complete picture of the results, see here.

However, today’s big news wasn’t the final results but rather when ISIE announced it had stripped 9 seats from Aridha Chaabia because of electoral fraud and the presence of ex-Ben Ali government members on their lists. The announcement caused a media frenzy and was met with applause at the press center. Their seats fell from 28 to 19, placing them in fourth.

In response to ISIE’s decision, Mohamed Hachmi Hamdi, leader of Aridha Chaabia, stated that he has withdrawn all candidates from the electoral lists and that none of the elected officials would serve in the Assembly. He added that he did not have the intention of contesting the matter in court.

Tires were burned on the streets of Sidi Bouzid.
As soon as the news was announced to the pubic, angry crowds gathered in Sidi Bouzid, home of Mr. Hamdi and the place where his party obtained their best results, and began rioting. Citizens burned down the mayor’s office and ransacked Ennadha’s headquarters. On social media sites, video and pictures were posted depicting violent clashed between protesters and police.

It was reported that protesters had started their assault on Ennadha’s HQ earlier in the day because of their secretary general’s announcement that there would be no coalition with Aridha Chaabia.

The immense surprise surrounding the results of this relatively unknown party is still the focus of the media’s attention. Many suspect that Mr. Hamdi used to be an ally of Ben Ali and that he used his TV station to boost his own party illegally during the campaign.

For more info on the controversy, click here.

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