mardi 25 octobre 2011

Diaspora results come in: Ennadha takes 50%

The first polls estimated about 25% of votes for Ennadha, pessimistic observers said 20% and the most optimistic predicted them between 35 and 40%.

In the diaspora vote, the Islamic party managed to surprise many by obtaining about 35% of voices. However, because of the way the Tunisian electoral system works (proportional with “strongest rest”), they now occupy 50% of the seats – nine of a possible 18. The other seats have gone to the CPR (4), Ettakatol (3), PDM (1) and Aridha Chaabia (1). The website presents a complete overview of the updated results.

At first glance, this may seem sort of strange, anti-democratic even, but this is not the case. As I have said before, the proportional system in place here favors small parties and is an effective way of diluting the seats of the Assembly. For more info, consult this prior article.

With that said, Tunisia’s proportional system is meant to hamper larger parties. So why did Ennadha, with 35% of the vote, come away with 50% of the available seats?

Logo of Ennahda
Let’s take the France 1 riding and its five seats for example. Ennadha, with 30%, obtained two seats on a possibility of five (so 40% of seats). CPR won one seat with 12%, as did Ettakatol with only 8%. According to the Tunisian system, each 20% tier wins a seat (100% divided by five = 20%). So Ennadha, with its 30%, automatically gets a seat. The other seats are then distributed to the parties who have the “better rest” of the votes. The CPR wins one seat because of its 12% score, then Ennhada wins another because their left-over 10% is greater than Ettakatol’s 8%.

This may seem unfair but the opposite could have happened if Ennadha had obtained, let’s say, 22% instead of 30%. A party who obtained 3% would have had a “strongest rest” than the religious party (22-20=2%) and would have potentially ended up with the same number of seats as the Islamists.

Many people are shocked at these results, me included. Everyone knew Ennahda was going to be strong in the rural areas and in the cities, but the diaspora…?

Could this mean that the party will obtain a better score than anticipated – maybe even a majority? I may be wrong here but I doubt it. The diaspora only represents 18 seats on a total of 217 – that leaves 199 to be won. Don’t forget that there are a lot less parties (11 vs 30.6 per list) and independent candidates (12 vs 24.2 per list) running in the diaspora than in the Tunisian ridings. The vote will inevitably be more diverse in the country than outside of it.

Among the disappointments is the total absence of the PDP – they were second in the early polls.

In the more progressive parties, CPR made a certain surprise as it took second place ahead of the predicted Ettakatol and PDP parties.

ISIE will announce the final results of the election on Tuesday.

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