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New government elected in Tunisia

From the International Report delivered to the CPGB-ML’s central committee on 5 November

On 23 October Tunisia held its first election since the overthrow of the Ben Ali dictatorship. The election was won by the moderate Islamic party Ennahda, which combines a long history of political opposition (before Ben Ali eviscerated the party some 10 years ago) with reputed backing from the Gulf.

This finance enabled Ennahda to inundate the electorate with fliers, t-shirts and bumper stickers distributed from a smart office in downtown Tunis, to publish paperbacks in several languages setting out its policies, and to distribute bottled water to those who attend its rallies, as well as to purchase goodwill by sponsoring various charitable events. In addition, it was one of the parties strongly supported by the bourgeois media and the mosques.

In the election, on a turnout of 48.8 percent, Ennahda won 90 of the 217 seats in the Constituent Assembly, while the secular social-democratic CPR (Congress for the Republic) and Ettakatol/FDTL (Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties), who got 30 and 21 seats respectively, are likely to join with Ennahda to form a coalition government.

Results for the left were disappointing, with the Tunisian Workers’ Communist Party (PCOT) only winning three seats. The party blamed its lack of access to the media and the mosques, which were used by its opponents not only to promote their own cause but also to spread disinformation about PCOT’s policies, in particular its stance on freedom of religion.

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