Moderate Islamist Ennahda party wins Tunisian vote

Tunisia's moderate Islamist Ennahda party has won 41.47% of votes cast in last Sunday's elections for an assembly that will draft a new constitution and form an interim government.


AFP - Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda party won historic democratic elections with 41.47 percent of votes cast, nine months after the ouster of dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, official results showed Thursday.

The party obtained 90 seats in a new 217-member assembly that will rewrite the constitution, appoint a president and form a caretaker government, elections chief Kamel Jendoubi told journalists in Tunis.

The leftist Congress for the Republic (CPR) was in second place with 13.82 percent, representing 30 seats, and Ettakatol third with 9.68 percent or 21 seats, he said.

Ennahda, banned under Ben Ali's regime and registered as a political party in March, had preempted its victory by announcing Wednesday it had started coalition negotiations and intended to form a new government within a month.

The new assembly will decide on 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 say that Ennahda, even in a majority alliance, would be unable to "dictate" its programme to the assembly, having no choice but to appease its alliance partners, a moderate-minded society, and the international community on whose investment and tourism the country relies heavily.

Leftist parties may yet seek to form a majority bloc against Ennahda.

The party said earlier Thursday it had met bankers and stock brokers to "reassure them" of its intentions.

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