Tunisian Islamist party claims election victory
By Rizwan Khatik - Tue Oct 25, 4:32 am
Official results were not due until Tuesday, but provisional numbers released by media outlets appeared to confirm the Ennahda party’s prediction that it would be the dominant force in Tunisia’s constituent assembly.
The leader of the secular centre-left PDP party, tipped as Ennahda’s main challenger before the vote, conceded defeat.
‘The trend is clear. The PDP is badly placed. It is the decision of the Tunisian people. I bow before their choice,’ leader Maya Jribi told AFP at her party’s headquarters.
Instead, the leaders of two other leftist parties, Ettakatol and the Congress for the Republic (CPR), said they were fighting it out for second place, both expecting to get about 15 percent of the vote.
Tunisians turned out en masse Sunday to elect an assembly seen as the custodian of the pro-democracy revolution that toppled longtime dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali nine months ago.
‘We are not far from 40 percent. It could be a bit more or a bit less, but we are sure to take 24 (of the 27) voting districts,’ Samir Dilou, a member of Ennahda’s political bureau told AFP, though another party member later put the figure at closer to 30 percent.
A provisional count showed Ennahda had won half of the 18 seats reserved for expatriate representatives on the assembly.
Data posted on the site of independent radio station Mosaique FM gave Ennahda the lead based on non-definitive results from a few dozen polling centres.
Sunday’s election, for which over 90 percent of some 4.1 million registered voters turned out, won hearty acclaim from world leaders closely scrutinising developments on the soil of the Arab Spring’s trailblazer.
‘This landmark election constitutes a key step in the democratic transition of the country and a significant development in the overall democratic transformation in north Africa and the Middle East,’ said UN chief Ban Ki-moon.