Tunisia’s secular Nidaa Tounes sweeps parliament

Chafik Sarsar, president of the ISIE, gives a conference on results of the legislative election on Oct. 30, 2014.

Chafik Sarsar, president of the ISIE, gives a conference on results of the legislative election on Oct. 30, 2014.

The secular Nidaa Tounes party came top in Tunisia’s weekend legislative polls defeating Islamist party Ennahda, according to official provisional results released early Thursday.

Nidaa Tounes won 85 of the 217 parliamentary seats in Sunday’s election, while Ennahda came second with 69, the ISIE election body told a press conference.

Tunisians voted in a parliamentary ballot that was one of the last steps in the North African country’s transition to democracy after the 2011 uprising against Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali.

Ennahda, the first Islamist movement to secure power after the “Arab Spring” revolts, conceded defeat on Monday in the election that was only the second free vote since Ben Ali’s autocratic rule ended.

One of the most secular Arab countries, Tunisia has been hailed as an example of political compromise after overcoming a crisis between secular and Islamist movements and approving a new constitution this year that allowed the elections.

With no outright majority, Nidaa Tounes will seek to form a coalition with partners in negotiations that will likely last weeks before a new government is set up. Ennahda has called for a national unity government including its Islamist movement.

Electoral authorities said the secular UNL party won 16 seats, the left-leaning Popular Front movement secured 15 and the liberal Afek Tounes party won 8.

 
 
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