Following the release of preliminary figures from Sunday’s vote, secular party Nidaa Tounes has been declared the current leader in Tunisia’s legislative elections with over 80 seats in the National Constituent Assembly, an unnamed Ennahdha official told Tunisia Live.
A preliminary ballot count published by Anadolus Agency revealed moderate Islamist party Ennahdha with 68 seats so far (31.33%) and 83 for Nidaa Tounes (38.24%) in the 217-seat assembly. Following the two leading parties are the United Patriotic Front with 17 seats, the Popular Front with 12 seats, Afek Tounes with 9, Democratic Current with 5, and the Initiative and Congress for the Republic parties with 4 seats each.
Most of the country’s votes have been counted, with only the southern governorates of Touzeur, Kebili, and Tataouine remaining. Official results will be announced later today.
As they stand, the results of yesterday’s elections prove a blow to Ennahdha, who enjoyed overwhelming support following the 2011 Tunisian Revolution that ousted longtime dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. After nearly three years in power, however, Tunisia’s citizens lament the lack of progress made in the country, particularly concerning the economy, security, and unemployment.
Nidaa Tounes was founded shortly after the revolution by 87-year old Beji Caid Essebsi, who served as minister of the interior under the Bourguiba regime and Chamber of Deputies president under Ben Ali. A self-proclaimed “modernist” party with liberal economic policies and a secular platform, the party has been able to take advantage of the widespead dissatisfaction with Tunisia’s current political and economic climate, presenting itself as a credible alternative to the well-established Islamist party.
Independent international observer groups noted sporadic irregularities during the weekend’s election process, but deemed it an overall success, with 92% of all polling stations recorded as fully compliant with legal regulations.
Sunday’s vote represents the second free elections in Tunisia’s history. The culmination of the 2014 election season marks the completion of Tunisia’s official transition to democracy, which started with the Arab Spring and will end with the country’s presidential election, to be held on November 23.
Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously stated that Beji Caid Essebsi served as minister of transport under Ben Ali regime instead of president of chamber of deputies under Ben Ali regime.
Natasha is a former editor at Tunisia Live and holds a Master's degree in Politics and Near East studies from Edinburgh University. Originally from Washington DC, she has spent time in Egypt, Morocco, and Jordan and worked with several human rights groups before joining TL. Natasha speaks English and French.