Tunisia’s moderate Ennahda movement has come out on top in the country’s parliamentary elections — securing 52 seats of the 217-seat parliament — while the recently formed Qalb Tounes (Heart of Tunisia) came in second with 38 members, according to the country’s election commission.
The results suggest the need of forming a coalition between parties in order to reach the parliament majority required to form a new Tunisian government.
Observers and political analysts following the Tunisian political scene expect that Ennahda party will ally with parties of different approaches and ideologies to form the government.
However, many others believe a unity government might be formed.
Formation of government
According to the Tunisian constitution, the party which achieved the higher seats will be assigned by the president to form a government within a period of one month with possibility of an extended 10-day period.
Based on the results, Ennahda party won’t be able to form the government without allying with other parties.
In a televised interview, Ennahda’s top leader Rached Ghannouchi said: “Ennahda won’t form a government with the Heart of Tunisia party, as Ennahda has already announced support to the party’s [Hear of Tunisia’s] rival candidate Kais Saied in the presidential run-off.”
Ghannouchi also said Ennahda will continue talks with other parties on the agenda of fighting corruption and poverty, though he acknowledged that the new government will be facing economic challenges.
The Al-Karama (Dignity) coalition, which came in fourth in the parliamentary elections with 21 seats, said it would welcome an alliance with Ennahda to form the government.
Seif Eddine Makhlouf, a leader of al-Karama coalition, said: “There is a possibility to form a government with one condition i.e. supporting the Tunisian revolution ideas as well as improving the living conditions of the Tunisian people.”
The People’s Movement party, which won 16 seats, said it will neither ally with Ennahda nor the Heart of Tunisia party.
Zouhair Meghzawi, the secretary general of the People’s Movement said: “We are in a complex situation as Ennahda failed in the previous governments and the Heart of Tunisia party is accused of many things.”
He confirmed that his party will join the opposition.
The Democratic Current party, which came in third with 22 seats, also opposed the idea of sharing a government with Ennahda, saying it has failed over the past eight years in power, according to Ghazi Chaouachi, a leader of the Democratic Current.
“In the light of the current results, the best solution is to form a ‘national salvation government’ without parties’ participation,” Chaouachi said.
Riyadh Shoaybi, a researcher in the Center for Economic and Social Studies and Research in Tunisia, said that Ennahda is able to achieve the simple majority, 109 votes of the parliament.
“However, Ennahda party is required to widen its parliamentary legitimacy in forming the government to ensure the success of the upcoming government,” Shoaybi added.
It was the third Tunisia’s legislative elections since the 2011 popular revolution which toppled long-time President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.
Tunisia, the birthplace of the 2011 Arab Spring revolution, has been roiled by social unrest and economic hardships in recent years, as the consecutive governments failed to improve the Tunisian people living conditions.
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