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12:17 am – Signing out for the night. Various Tunisian websites have issued projections beyond the official results, and most hover around a total of 88 seats for Ennahda in the 217-member Constituent Assembly. Their work appears credible, but for clarity, we at Tunisia Live will continue to collect only official results according to the TAP state news agency or the Independent High Authority for the Elections (French acronym ISIE) itself.
12:12 am - At the close of the day, moderate Islamist party Ennahda issued a press release seeking to reassure opposition parties and international partners. They begin by saying that their party is no longer merely the property of its members but of Tunisia as a whole, and they close with the conciliatory lines, “Tunisians have suffered for long under dictatorship, now they have the opportunity to savour the taste of freedom. The new Tunisia will be free of repression and exclusion and will be open to all its daughters and sons.”
Signalling openness to political cooperation with opposition parties, Ennahda writes, “We are pleased to see that the political climate has left behind the tension that was naturally part of the election campaign, and we are pleased to hear mature and responsible stances from political leaders. We certainly need to learn new democratic principles, including the fact that the opposition has an important role to play.”
In a move with important international consequences, they uphold the “continuity of the Tunisian state” and therefore commit themselves to “all accords ratifies by it.”
“We believe in the right, or rather duty of national capital to contribute to development and the creation of jobs and wealth, and wish to reassure markets and all international economic partners,” writes Ennahda.
11:07 pm – Only four new districts, Tataouine, Zaghouan, Medenine, and Gabes. New seat totals, including districts that have been announced on the TAP state news agency but not by ISIE: Ennahda 43 seats, PDP 5 seats, Ettakatol 10 seats, CPR 16 seats, Afek Tounes 3 seats, Al Moubadara 2 seats, PCOT (Communist) 1 seat, Mouvement Patriotes Democrates 1 seat, PDM 3 seats, Aridha Chaabia 12 seats, Progressive Union Movement 1 seat, Social Activism 1 seat, Sawt Al Mostakbol 1 seat, “For a National Tunisian Front” 1 seat, Shems Aridha 1 seat. A total of 101 seats have been assigned out of a total of 217. Our results tables are current.
10:33 pm – It appears that the 10pm press conference will start soon, and maybe the few journalists to stick around will be rewarded. Assistants are setting up additional seats and name tags. Perhaps many ISIE members means many results.
10:17 pm – We have made some minor changes to our results page, adding official voting numbers and percentages where available to our lists of seats assigned. For the France I district, voting percentages provided by the TAP state news agency do not match what we recorded from an ISIE press conference yesterday evening.
9:44 pm – The TAP state news agency has released the following results for Nabeul II: Ennahda wins 2 seats, the CPR wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat, and the PDP wins 1 seat. Our results page is upated to reflect the new totals.
9:38 pm – Minor correction: We finally sorted out some confusion over the names of independent lists in Sfax II and Jendouba. The results tables now show the proper name of the independent list to win a seat in Sfax II, Sawt Al Mostakbol (Voice of the Independents).
9:21 pm – ISIE still says they are planning a press conference to announce results at 10pm, but an ISIE member told Tunisia Live they will announce results from perhaps only five more districts.
9:11 pm – Ajmi Lourimi, a member of the executive bureau of Ennahda, stopped by the press center and gave brief comments to journalists. Tunisia Live got no direct quotations, but the gist of his speech was that Ennahda is prepared to work with any party. If parties are not interested in working with Ennahda, Ennahda is not interested in working with them.
Lourimi is also a professor of philosophy and spent sixteen years in prison under the old regime. A quick look through old Amnesty International records gives a sense of how historic Ennahda’s victory is today. Many top members of this party were detained and tortured under the old regime. Now, through an open, democratic election, they are poised to become the most powerful political leaders of the nation.
8:36 pm – Ennahda celebrations taking place in downtown Tunis. People are waving Tunisian flags and singing religious songs.
8:32 pm – Some brief background information on the Al Aridha Al Chaabia list, which has posted strong results despite being almost totally unknown before the elections, is available here.
8:23 pm – Regarding the apparent fall of the PDP: “Tunisian citizens expressed themselves frankly and clearly: they wanted a rupture with the old system,” said Omar Mestiri, co-founder of the online newspaper and radio station Kalima, a prominent dissident voice before the revolution. “The PDP played the card of concession, of trying to improve the old system.” Read more at PDP Crushed, Party in Chaos, by Tunisia Live editor Mischa Benoit-Lavelle, additional reporting by Wiem Melki.
7:46 pm – About 200 Ennahda supporters gathered for a victory party outside Ennahda headquarters in the Montplaisir neighborhood of Tunis. Ennahda officials announce that they have won 3 seats in Tunis II.
7:17 pm – Tunisians working in an advertising agency in the Lac I northern suburb of Tunis tell Tunisia Live that after lamenting Ennahda’s victory yesterday, they are beginning to question how Ennahda could make themselves such attractive candidates. Ennahda may become a model of moderate, democratic Islam for the rest of the Arab world, and they may become an example of savvy political campaigners to their own political opponents in Tunisia.
7:09 pm – TAP state news agency is reporting results for Nabeul 1: Ennahda wins 2 seats, CPR wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat, Afek Tounes wins 1 seat, PDP wins 1 seat. Our results tables are current.
6:41 pm – Hazem, in jeans and a shirt, drinking scotch on ice and smoking a cigarette, tells Tunisia Live, “I feel so stupid because I voted without knowing exactly the party I voted for. I was just influenced by my relatives. I didn’t do anything to change the situation. I’m educated but didn’t militate for my country. I feel so ashamed… I should have done more…”
Tunisians are learning about civic engagement and democracy very quickly today. It will be interesting to see if legislative elections in the future have lower turnout as people lose faith or interest in the system or greater turnout because citizens are more aware of the consequences of a vote.
6:28 pm – TAP state news agency is reporting results for Gabes: Ennahda wins 4 seats, CPR wins 1 seat, list “For a Tunisian National Front” wins 1 seat, Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) wins 1 seat. Seven seats total. All other results published by TAP today have been accurate according to the ISIE. Our results tables are current.
6:00 pm – Out of 67 seats assigned so far, Ennahda has won 29 seats and led in all districts. 150 seats remain up for grabs. The second-place finisher so far is the CPR with 11 seats. Ettakatol and Aridha Chaabia are tied for third with 8 seats each.
The easily-recognized center-left parties, including the PDP, Ettakatol, Afek Tounes, and the PDM, together have only 13 seats. As a block they barely beat out the CPR.
No one seems to know how Aridha Chaabia jumped into the scene with 8 seats on their own, but the ISIE has made dark statements about possible disqualification of lists based on campaign finance violations.
5:25 pm – Results tables are current. The only results we did not have already were from Sfax II. All the other districts were already announced by the TAP state news agency over the course of the day. Rather a disappointing conference, overall. Ennahda continues to dominate.
5:00 pm – Press conference begins. First, a clarification from ISIE: The only offense which can affect the assignment of seats is campaign finance violations. Other violations may be punished with sanctions but will not affect the outcome in terms of seats in the Constituent Assembly.
4:48 pm – Still no sign that the ISIE press conference is ready to begin, but the room is full of journalists and the camera crews are ready. We are expecting official, preliminary results from some domestic districts but not all. ISIE has not been clear about which districts will be announced and which districts need more time for counting.
4:47 pm – The protesters outside the ISIE Media Center are denouncing Ennahda’s alleged campaign violations, as their signs suggest, but they are also demanding a referendum to limit the mandate of the Constituent Assembly election. This demand revives a discussion from September, when a number of secular-leaning parties began calling for a referendum, to be held simultaneously with the Constituent Assembly elections, that would establish a firm limit on the Assembly’s mandate, including its powers and duration.
At the time, many were beginning to suspect that Ennahda could win exactly the type of strong results we are seeing today, and the referendum appeared to be an effort to check Ennahda’s power. The role of the Constituent Assembly is not clearly understood by many Tunisians, making it possible for the Assembly to develop into an open-ended legislative body.
A referendum was not feasible technically and not agreed upon politically, although even Ennahda supported it. Instead, eleven major political parties signed an agreement to limit the mandate of the Constituent Assembly to one year and laid the groundwork for the appointment of the transitional government. Ennahda signed; the CPR did not.
The agreement has little legal authority, and the public is not well-informed about it. Still, perhaps the focus should be less on whether the Tunisian street can follow every specific agreement and more on their ongoing vigilance against any deviation from good democratic practices. If Ennahda or a ruling coalition between Ennahda and the CPR attempts to push their mandate too far, the street will probably respond with anger.
4:24 pm – Al Jazeera Arabic reports that the European Union has confirmed the transparency of Tunisia’s Consituent Assembly elections.
4:20 pm – Press conference not starting right at 4:00 pm, as expected.
In the credible results we have seen so far, no party besides Ennahda has won even one district in popular votes (although we do not have details for Americas and Rest of Europe). There could be some sampling bias here – districts that take longer to count may be less likely to vote Ennahda because of some sociological quirk. But overall, Ennahda appears to have proven Rached Ghannouchi’s campaign speech last Friday: “We are everywhere.”
Ennahda has consistently been the best-organized and the most professional on the campaign trail. Press attaches are polite and helpful; foreign journalists are treated to spokesmen who speak English and are briefed in subjects that might interest an international audience. Door-to-door teams of volunteers are unified in the party message. Some of Ennahda’s success should be credited to their campaign organization.
3:46 pm – The protest outside the ISIE Media Center is a bit larger today, probably a bit shy of two hundred people. One sign says “Never Give Up The Fight” and another reads, “Ennahda = 30 TND,” referrig to rumors that Ennahda bought votes for thirty Tunisian dinars each. According to my taxi driver, who described himself as “very happy” with the results, the protesters are “young people who want to talk.”
2:28 pm – A Tunisia Live reporter in Ennahda headquarters says negotiations are definitely ongoing, out of sight, but rumors on social media that Marzouki and Ghannouchi are both in Ennahda headquarters are false.
Live updates will be interrupted for an hour or so. It is time to stock up on calories and get in place at the ISIE Media Center. Remember that the most current results from ISIE or from the TAP state news agency are organized on our results tables page.
Please note: This page does not update automatically. Click “refresh” in your browser for the latest updates.
2:09 pm – A CPR press attache tells Tunisia Live that they are “seriously considering” bringing complaints against unspecified parties based on campaign violations.
To clarify the previous update, ISIE said that they could nullify an entire list of Aridha Chaabia, not just alter vote totals. He did not specify which district.
1:51 pm – The electoral commission (ISIE) says that Aridha Chaabia party may run the risk of nullification of votes based on campaign finance violations.
1:43 pm – An ISIE official said on Mosaique FM that results from one of the international districts – unspecified – may have to be adjusted after a recount. Preliminary international results were announced last night at an ISIE press conference.
1:28 pm – Our results tables have been updated to include all results reported by ISIE or the TAP state news agency. Mosaique FM results have not been included.
1:18 pm: Mosaique FM has updated their results for Sfax 1. They now report Sfax 1: Ennahdha wins 3 seats, the CPR wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, Al Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat, and Badil Thawry (Revolutionary Alternative) wins 1 seat. The change is that the CPR has lost a seat and Badil Thawry has won a seat.
1:00 pm – A press attache from the CPR told Tunisia Live that he “cannot confirm and cannot deny” that negotiations have begun with Ennahda.
12:56 pm – Without citing a source, the TAP state news agency has announced preliminary results for Sousse: Ennahda wins 4 seats, Al Moubadara (The Initiative) wins 2 seats, the CPR wins 1 seat, Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, and the PDP wins 1 seat. Sousse has 10 seats total.
12:52 pm – Citing the regional ISIE instance, the TAP state news agency has announced preliminary results for Jendouba: Ennahda wins 2 seats, Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, PDP wins 1 seat, CPR wins 1 seat, the “Social Activism” list wins 1 seat, and the Mouvement Patriotes Democrates wins 1 seat. Jendouba has 8 seats total.
12:42 pm – Anonymous sources from within the Congress for the Republic (CPR) confirm that discussions have begun with Ennahda about choosing positions within the next government. With a plurality and maybe a majority within the Constituent Assembly, Ennahda will doubtless be a dominant force in the transitional government, but they intend to share important positions. Negotiation over which party gets which post will likely be contentious, even as the top few parties echo each other’s statement about national unity. It is unclear how official the current discussions are.
A press attache from Ettakatol told Tunisia Live that it is too early to begin negotiations over the next government. Ettakatol will first meet with other smaller parties in the Constituent Assembly and determine their priorities before opening formal talks with Ennahda.
12:34 pm – Khalil Zeouia, head of Ettakatol’s Tunis II list, told Mosaique FM that winning parties should form a “consensus,” but that does not necessarily mean a “coalition.”
12:25 pm – The Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE) now says they will announce partial national results at their downtown media center at 4pm.
12:23 pm – We are hearing reports from social media of protests to be held in various downtown locations today. Tunisia has passed one major test already; the day of the vote was a success. The release of the results will be another major test.
Many secular Tunisians are shocked at the success of Ennahda. All the feelings of triumph and disappointment that attend elections in democratic countries are amplified for Tunisians because so much is at stake, and the experience is unfamiliar for Tunisians because they have never awaited real election results before. Some are ready to reject the results, using Ennahda campaign violations as justification. It appears that there will be many legal challenges, and ISIE has left open the possibility of disqualifying some seats based on legal challenges.
We predict the protests today will be relatively small. Overall, it seems that people unhappy with Ennahda’s victory are nevertheless committed to accepting the democratic process. Even as losing parties begin to discuss legal action, the mood in the street is largely ready to move forward with the results of the democratic process.
11:50 am – Jawher Ben Mbarek, head of the “Destourna” independent list, says that Aridha Chaabia should be disqualified because they have violated the ban on electoral advertising. Aridha Chaabia’s leader, Mohamed Hechmi Hamdi, owns the Mostakella TV station, and Ben Mbarek says that this international channel has been used to broadcast political publicity in Tunisia for the entire campaign period. Such political advertising is against the electoral code established by the electoral commission (ISIE).
11:34 am – An observer from Sfax II has now corrected the initial results, taking a seat away from the CPR and adding one to Afek Tounes. This is the first seat reported awarded to Afek Tounes. The new results for Sfax II: Ennahdha wins 4 seats, the CPR wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, Sawt Al Moustakella (Voice of the Independents) wins 1 seat, Al Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat, and Afek Tounes wins 1 seat.
11:06 am – We are hearing that several districts are still counting, including Tunis I, Manouba, and Ben Arous, which may not be finished until 4pm. ISIE staff at the downtown media center have said the results could be as late as 7pm; other ISIE staff say as late as 10pm. All signs point to a late night with ISIE.
10:54 am – Correction to the Mosaique FM projected results for Sfax II: Ennahdha wins 4 seats, the CPR wins 2 seats, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, Sawt Al Moustakella (Voice of the Independents) wins 1 seat, and Al Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat. This accounts for all nine seats allocated to Sfax II; earlier we were missing the seat for Al Aridha Chaabia.
10:52 am – Al Jazeera Arabic’s projection of the national popular vote results: Ennahda 45%, CPR 15%, Ettakatol 10%, Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) 10%. They also project that Ennahda’s 45% plurality will result in a majority of seats in the Constituent Assembly, based on the proportional list system.
The apparent collapse of the PDP is perhaps more surprising than the success of Ennahda. Poll numbers in late September and throughout the summer showed the PDP earning a bit over half as much support as Ennahda, a ratio that did not change much between surveys. The question becomes, to whom did their support go? Yesterday we wrote that Ettakatol appears to have moved into the position of leading center-left party, but if Ettakatol only receives 10% of the vote, it does not seem that they benefitted much from the fall of the PDP.
Instead, PDP support could have gone to the CPR, whose results are about twice as high as any survey predicted. Granted, the CPR is seen by many as supporting Ennahda, which would discourage the anti-Ennahda voters who originally congregated to the PDP. But CPR leader Moncef Marzouki is considered trustworthy, and Tunisians across many ideological divides admire him for his principled opposition to the old regime. Once citizens arrived in the voting room, personal trust may have proven more important than ideology.
10:25 am – Al Jazeera Arabic reports that the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) has admit they lost the election, and they will not be part of the next government.
10:20 am – Mosaique FM released new results, apparently projections based on leaked district tallies:
Sfax 1: Ennahdha wins 3 seats, the CPR wins 2 seats, Ettakatol wins 1 seat and Al Aridha Chaabia wins 1 seat. This projection adds up to the total seven seats that will represent Sfax 1.
Sfax 2: Ennahdha wins 4 seats, the CPR wins 2 seats, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, Sawt Al Moustakella (Voice of the Independents) wins 1 seat. This adds up to eight seats, and Sfax 2 will be assigned nine total. Presumably the leftover seat is too close to call.
9:53 am – In their public rhetoric, Ennahda has said they will reach out to runner-up parties like the CPR and Ettakatol to form a government of national unity. From a position of strength, it is easy to make such generous statements about power-sharing, and just like their promises of moderation, the proof will be seen in actions, not words. Still, it appears to be in Ennahda’s best interest to form a broad coalition. By demonstrating that they can lead a stable, credible government that satisfies a wide swathe of Tunisian society, they could cement their own credibility before legislative elections.
9:16 am – Our results tables have been updated with vote totals and percentages, where available. Ennahda received 40% of the vote in Kebili, 59% in Tataouine.
We also fixed a typo in the results reported below for Tataouine.
8:41 am – In Kebili, out of five seats total, Ennahda wins 2 seats, the CPR wins 2 seats, and Al Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) wins 1 seat. Again these results are from the TAP state news agency, citing the regional ISIE.
8:38 am – In Beja, out of six seats total, Ennahda wins 2 seats, Al Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) wins 1 seat, the PDP wins 1 seat, Ettakatol wins 1 seat, and the CPR wins 1 seat. This is the first seat reported won by the PDP. Again these results are from the TAP state news agency, citing the regional ISIE.
8:33 am – The TAP state news agency, citing the regional instance of the Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE), reports that in Tataouine, Ennahda has won 3 seats and Al Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) has won 1 seat. Tataouine has 4 seats total. The PDP came in third and the CPR came in fourth, but neither one managed to win a seat.
8:27 am – Good morning and welcome back to Tunisia Live’s coverage of the Tunisia elections. Official results for international results were released yesterday, and today Tunisia expects full results for domestic districts.
Ennahda declared victory yesterday, forecasting that they would receive more than 30% of the vote based on their own electoral observers. The Congress for the Republic (CPR) is also doing better than expected. Informal conversations with Tunisians and foreign journalists suggest that many undecided voters went for CPR at the last minute. The center-left Political Democratic Party (PDP), expected to be the secular counterweight to Ennahda, has so far failed to win a seat.
To recap: in international voting, Ennahda won 9 seats, the CPR won 4 seats, center-left Ettakatol won 3 seats, the Democratic Modernist Pole won 1 seat, and Aridha Chaabia (Popular Petition) won a seat. Check our results page for details.
Official results for a few domestic districts have been released overnight. Updates to follow.
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