Tunisia caught between political extremes
Hassan Alfathali

The preliminary data of the results of the first round of Tunisia’s presidential elections pointed to a conflict between two opposing groups on the political scene. The first is represented by Nidaa Tunis, led by Beji Caid Essebsi, and the second is supported by President Moncef Marzouki. The presidential election was not significantly different from the legislative elections held on Oct. 26, 2014, where the results reflected the emergence of two opposing camps in parliament: Nidaa Tunis, with 86 seats, followed by the Islamist party Ennahda, with 69 seats. These two parties alone won more than two thirds of parliamentary seats, to the detriment of the other prestigious political parties, including democratic and forceful political figures who were completely wiped from the electoral scene.
In this context, political analyst Salaheddine al-Jourchi believes that the political scene in Tunisia is moving rapidly toward bipolarity, between a group represented by Ennahda and a second that represents the leftist forces and modern elites.
“This dichotomy does not resemble ancient democracies because Tunisia is still finding its way towards its place as an emerging democracy. It is a product of political practices characterized by poor relationships between political elites and a division between the components of some of the lines of thought,” said Jourchi. “This usually leads to conflict, due to the lack of consensus culture, and always entails the intervention of a third party to resolve the crisis, similar to the way civil society organizations oversee the national dialogue.”

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