By Mona Yahia in Tunis for Magharebia


With Tunisia’s parliamentary poll concluded, the country is set for the next stage in its democratic transition.

Nidaa Tounes topped Tunisia’s parliamentary election, followed by Islamist party Ennahda, the Free Patriotic Union (UPL) and the Popular Front finished fourth, officials confirmed Thursday (October 30th).

All eyes are focused now on the new government to come – sometime after a new president is elected on November 23rd.

The Tunisian constitution provides that the president assign the party with the largest representation the task of forming a government.

That would be Nidaa Tounes.

Potential alliances and coalitions are already the topic of much debate.

Ennahda Vice-President Abdelhamid Jlassi said that the country’s situation was difficult and required a broad alliance between the main powers to form a strong government of national unity.

However, Nidaa Tounes official Khémais Ksila said his party would only ally itself with those that shared the same social and economic visions.

Abdelaziz Kotti, another leader in Nidaa Tounes, said that his party was waiting for presidential elections to determine its position in future negotiations.

The Popular Front, meanwhile, ruled out a coalition with Ennahda after the assassinations of Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi during the Islamists’ time in power.

Some Tunisians see a way to move forward.

According to Jawher Ben Mbarek, a law professor, Tunisia is heading towards a government of technocrats.

“This is what Beji Caid Essebsi wants, because Nidaa Tounes does not have a comfortable majority and is forced to form a coalition with at least five small parties in order to form a government of national unity,” he explained.

“This government does not have to be political, but can be a government of technocrats in exchange for the support of Beji Caid Essebsi in the presidential elections,” Ben Mbarek continued. “Hence he could be a president with broad consensus.”

The professor continued: “On the other hand, if Nidaa Tounes wants to form a government of national unity, it can only form it with an alliance with Afek Tounes, the Party of Initiative and the Popular Front.”

“Yet these parties have completely different social and economic agendas and this will take us back to the failed experiment of the troika,” he added.

Most of the parties that campaigned against Ben Ali were absent from the political scene, as were the parties that participated in the Ennahda-led troika – the Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol.

Hichem Guerfali, who heads a polling institution, has a possible explanation.

“The Parties that are considered militant were removed from the political scene because they did not conduct deep reviews of their performance and continued to depend on their historical depth and their images,” he told Magharebia.

“The emerging parties,” he added, “are characterized by pragmatism.”

Source: Magharebia.