Posted by: mulrickillion | December 3, 2011

Behind the Islamist Wave Elections in the Arab World

By Anna Mahjor-Barducci, Hudson New York, Dec 2, 2011 —

The International press has been writing that the Arab world — in Tunisia, Morocco and Egypt — has been hit in the recent elections by an Islamist "wave." However, one must looks carefully behind the election results to understand what it is really going on. Take Tunisia, for example, where elections were held last October for the Constituent Assembly, consisting of 217 lawmakers. The Islamist party Ennahda won a relative majority (not the absolute one), with 89 seats. If one looks more closely at the other parties that entered in the Constituent Assembly, however, the majority of them are left-oriented.

The problem with these elections was that the Tunisians — maybe because they were so excited to have their first free elections — presented 1570 electoral lists, and 11.000 candidates for 110 parties running for election. Many of these parties were just copies the others or, in many instances, differentiated only by small nuances. The socialist, liberal and democratic parties made the mistake of not forming a coalition, hence dispersing the vote.

There were many liberal-oriented parties that achieved just one seat each, thereby having no weight inside the Constituent Assembly. Tunisia’s Ennahda had a program and was organized and united, but the democratic opposition was totally fragmented and too busy busy to decide on who should be heading what. If parties with similar ideologies would have united instead of creating new lists, the outcome of these elections would have been slightly different. Ennahda managed to get a relative majority basically because it was facing an opposition that was unprepared. It is not possible to run an election with more than a hundred parties: the votes become too fragmented. . . .

Behind the Islamist Wave Elections in the Arab World: Hudson New York

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