October 25th, 2011
10:15 AM ET

Roundup: Moderate Islamists claim victory in Tunisia

Editor's Note: The following is reprinted with the permission of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The moderate Islamist party al-Nahda said it won over 40 percent (al-Jazeera) of seats in Tunisia's constituent assembly in the country's first democratic elections since revolutionaries forced former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali from power late last year.

Al-Nahda's main rival, the secular center-left Progressive Democratic Party admitted defeat (BBC) on Monday. However, al-Nahda indicated that it would likely form a coalition (NYT) with two other liberal parties that fared well in the elections.

Ninety percent of Tunisians turned out for Sunday's vote for an assembly tasked with drafting a new constitution (Reuters) within one year. The assembly will also appoint an interim president to run the country until new elections are held at the end of next year or in early 2013.

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Analysis

The BBC offers a profile ofTunisia's Islamist al-Nahda party.

Tunisia's elections show that democracy can work for Islamist political parties, writes Christian Lowe in this Reuters analysis.

In his blog, Middle East Matters, CFR's Robert Danin says that events in Tunisia will resonate beyond its borders, with the entire Arab world watching.

Tunisians triggered the first of the Arab world upheavals, but can they sustain support for democratic changes? In this CFR Expert Brief, CFR's Victoria Taylor says the elections for a constitutional assembly will test Tunisia's political maturity.

This CFR Issue Guide provides expert analysis and essential background on some of the central issues facingTunisia,Libya,Egypt,Syria, andYemen, as the Arab Spring enters a critical new phase.

MIDDLE EAST

Qaddafi Buried in Libyan Desert

Libya's ruling National Transitional Council said officials buried the body (BBC) of ousted leader Muammar al-Qaddafi and that of his son and a top aide in theLibyan desert.

Senator Carl M. Levin (D-MI), chairman of the Armed Services Committee, discusses U.S. involvement in Libya following Qaddafi's death, as well as progress inAfghanistan and possible federal budget sequestration with CFR's James M. Lindsay in this CFR Video.

PACIFIC RIM

Philippine Military Bombs Rebels

The Philippine military carried out airstrikes in the south of the country on separatist rebels from theMoro Islamic Liberation Front (BBC). The group is considered responsible for an ambush last week that killed nineteen Philippine soldiers.

MYANMAR: Opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi applauded the military-backed government of President Thein Sein for implementing the most substantive democratic reforms (WSJ) in decades, but cautioned that more changes are needed before the West can ease economic sanctions.

SOUTH AND CENTRAL ASIA

Militants Launch Grenade Attacks in Srinagar

Militants launched grenade attacks on two Indian security posts in the Kashmiri city (IndianExpress) ofSrinagar, injuring three paramilitary personnel.

PAKISTAN: A roadside bomb blew up the car of an anti-Taliban militia member (Dawn) in northwestPakistan, killing him and three others. The Pakistani government has organized militias of local tribesmen in the region to weed out the Taliban from their communities.

AFRICA

Twin Attacks in Central Nairobi

Bombs exploded at a pub and a bus stop outside Nairobi's central business district, killing at least one person and injuring eight. The attacks came shortly after Somalia's al-Shabaab militants warned of reprisals (al-Jazeera) forKenya's military campaign against the group in southernSomalia.

This CFR Backgrounder offers a profile of the al-Shabaab Islamist militant organization based in southernSomalia.

NIGERIA: The Nigerian Islamist sect Boko Haram said it killed a state television journalist (Reuters) at his home inMaiduguri for allegedly working as an informant for the Nigerian security services.

Widening violence by Boko Haram has caused concerns about its possible links to international terrorist groups, explains this CFR Backgrounder.

AMERICAS

Iranian-American Pleads Not Guilty in Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador

Manssor Arbabsiar, an Iranian-American accused of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States, pleaded not guilty (CNN) in aNew York federal court on Monday.

Iran's ambitions as a regional power and links to suspected terrorist groups pose stiff challenges to its neighbors and the world, explains this CFR Crisis Guide.

MEXICO: U.S. law enforcement agencies have built up considerable networks of Mexican informants, allowing them to heavily infiltrate Mexico's drug cartels (NYT) and assist in killing or capturing about two dozen high-profile traffickers.

EUROPE

PMI Points to Eurozone Recession

The eurozone Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), measuring manufacturing and services, dropped this month from 49.1 to 47.2, leading economists to conclude that the monetary union's sovereign debt crisis (Guardian) has pushed it into recession.

ITALY: The cabinet of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi failed to agree on pension reforms (DeutscheWelle) requested by the EU ahead of Wednesday's summit to rescue the eurozone.Italy's mounting public debt has made it highly vulnerable to sovereign debt contagion fromGreece.

Political divisions continue to hamper a solution to the eurozone sovereign debt crisis. EU leaders are caught between market forces urging greater fiscal integration and nationalist sentiments warning against a loss of political sovereignty, explains this CFR Analysis Brief.

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Topics: Elections • Islam • Middle East

soundoff (9 Responses)
  1. Rosanne

    A moderate Great White shark at a yank the other day in Oz

    October 25, 2011 at 11:59 am | Reply
    • Willie12345

      What kind of a meaningless comment is that? I thought that we were discussing Tunisia here.

      October 25, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Reply
  2. j. von hettlingen

    Not all Islamist parties embrace extremism.Turkey's Justice and Development Party is a good example. Nevertheless Ennahda might not have the overall majority and would have to seek coaltion with other – secular – parties.

    October 25, 2011 at 6:01 pm | Reply
  3. Taeil

    What in the world is a "moderate" Islamist party? They lash instead of stone women for not wearing a veil?

    October 25, 2011 at 10:29 pm | Reply

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