The triumph of secularism in Tunisia and the democratic challenges ahead

Strife

By Beatrice Tesconi:

Photo: Gwenael Piaser http://goo.gl/rhG0HR Photo: Gwenael Piaser http://goo.gl/rhG0HR

Against the backdrop of dispiriting headlines about the rise of Islamism in the wake of the ‘Arab Spring’, recent political developments in Tunisia have been hailed as a beacon of hope for a region wracked by extremism and civil war.

On Sunday October 26, Tunisia held its second parliamentary elections since the ousting of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. Securing 85 of the 217 seats in parliament, the main secular party Nidaa Tounes swept aside the once dominant Islamist party of Ennahda.[1]

Hailed as a regional success story and an “important milestone in Tunisia’s historic political transition” by US President Obama, the triumph of laïcité in Tunisia has gained the praise of governments worldwide.[2]

Bravo Tunisia. Well done.

Once again, this small olive-eyed North African country has set itself as an example to its Arab neighbours and restored…

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