Nonresident Senior Fellow Ellen Lust: Tunisian Elections Bring Hope in Uncertain Times
In an article for the Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog, POMED Nonresident Senior Fellow Ellen Lust and others write about polling results in relation to Tunisia’s recent parliamentary elections.
This year, the enthusiasm from both the international and local communities in the lead-up to elections has waned. The world’s attention now focuses on civil wars in Syria and Libya, the spread of the Islamic State and concerns over insecurity and instability. Inside Tunisia, too, the mood had shifted from optimism to concern. Tunisians have seen their economy worsen, inequalities persist and frustrations mount.
Nevertheless, Sunday’s elections were enormously significant precisely because they were seemingly uneventful. The turnout was unexpectedly high, reaching over 60 percent of registered voters. Voting was peaceful, and as strong turnout figures came in, Tunisians were exuberant. Perhaps most important, the elections saw peaceful turnover of power. Nidaa Tunis, a party that emerged after uprisings against the Ennahda-led government, emerged the winner, and Ennahda conceded defeat. Now, negotiations over the Cabinet will begin, with all the usual haggling. In stark contrast to experiences in Egypt or Libya, Tunisia’s elections are “politics as normal.”
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