A highly fragmented political scene emerged from Tunisia’s municipal elections. The surprise victory of independent candidates may challenge the longstanding Ennahda-Nidaa Tounes alliance ahead of next year’s parliamentary and presidential elections.
Tunisians awoke to a surprise result in the polls on 6 May. The independent lists garnered most votes around the country (32.9 percent) followed by Islamist party Ennahdha (28.6 percent) and the secularist Nidaa Tounes (22.17 percent), based on official figures issued by the Independent Electoral Commission (ISIE).
An analysis carried by Alessandra Bajec for the Middle East Eye analysis the situation in Tunsitia, following local polls, where the big question is whether Tunisia’s ruling parties, Nidaa Tounes and Ennahdha, will stick together in the fragmented political landscape.
Earlier, spokesperson for Tunisia’s Nidaa Tounes party has provoked outrage by suggesting that an Ennahda party candidate in the running to become Tunis’s first female mayor is “unacceptable” because she would be unable to attend a mosque during Ramadan.
Ennahda, a traditionally conservative movement whose leaders describe themselves as “Muslim democrats”, won a 25 percent share of the vote and 21 out of 60 council seats in Tunis in Sunday’s municipal elections.
The party’s mayoral candidate is Souad Abderrahim, a 53-year-old pharmacist who has been a leading figure in Ennahda since winning a seat in the constituent assembly formed after Tunisia’s 2011 revolution.
On Sunday, she earned the highest number of votes among council candidates in the capital and now faces a contest against Kamel Idir, the candidate for Nidaa Tounes and a former president of Tunis’s popular Club Africain football team, for the leadership of the city.