Islamist extremist party win in Tunisia’s ‘Arab Spring’ vote


Tarek Amara and Christian Lowe
The Independent
October 25, 2011

Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party was preparing to lead a coalition government today after its election win sent a message to the region that once-banned Islamists are challenging for power after the “Arab Spring”.

With election officials still counting the ballot papers, the Ennahda party said its own, unofficial tally showed it had won Sunday’s vote, the first since the uprisings which began in Tunisia and spread through the region.

Seeking to reassure secularists in Tunisia and elsewhere who see a threat to their liberal, modernist values, party officials said they would bring two secularist parties into a broad interim coalition that will govern the country.

“This is an historic moment,” said Zeinab Omri, a young woman in a hijab, or Islamic head scarf, who was among a cheering crowd outside the Ennahda headquarters when party officials claimed victory late yesterday.

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