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La elección de Kaïs Saïed a la presidencia de la República de Túnez no sólo es emblemática de la actual situación del país magrebí, sino de una aspiración de todos los pueblos del arco sur del Mediterráneo. En primer lugar, su nombramiento como mandatario ha tenido lugar en un contexto de democracia pluralista real, efectiva, sin coacción autoritaria o mafiosa alguna. En este sentido, es el principal acervo de la revolución democrática de 2011: Túnez sigue demostrando que la ruptura política introducida en aquel año se ha esculpido como una de sus señas de identidad fundadora.

Segundo, se pone de relieve que la reivindicación central del pueblo tunecino, es la de un sistema político basado en la transparencia, la fusión estrecha entre las capas dirigentes y el pueblo, la honestidad como categoría clave en la conducción de los asuntos públicos.…  Seguir leyendo »

President Trump is lashing out against the media and his opposition as he faces impeachment for turning U.S. foreign policy into an extension of his reelection campaign. The British Parliament is poised to vote down Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s legislative program next week, raising the prospect of a “zombie government” crippled by a deepening split over Brexit. And a Polish election has delivered a resounding win for the authoritarian Law and Justice party — effectively rewarding it for a systematic assault on press freedom and other democratic institutions.

This is not a happy time for advocates of liberal democracy.

And yet there was one dazzling bolt of good news that emerged from the darkness this weekend: Tunisia just held the second round of its presidential vote — and the people won.…  Seguir leyendo »

Winners and losers of Tunisia’s parliamentary electionsMembers of Tunisia's Independent High Authority for Elections count votes a day after the parliamentary election. (Riadh Dridi/AP)

Tunisians voted in parliamentary elections on Sunday, their second of three elections scheduled this fall. About 41 percent of registered voters turned out to vote, slightly lower than the 49 percent in the first round of the presidential elections held Sept. 15.

The elections will create a highly fractured parliament, with no party or list receiving more than 20 percent of the vote. While results will be announced Wednesday, exit polls suggest a narrow victory for the moderate Islamist party Ennahda, with about 18 percent of the vote, followed closely by newcomer Qalb Tounes, with about 16 percent. Five smaller parties secured between 4 percent and 6 percent of the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »

Supporters of Tunisia's jailed presidential candidate, Nabil Karoui, attend a campaign event in Tunis on Friday. (Fethi Belaid AFP/Getty Images)

On Sunday, Tunisia is holding the second free presidential election in its history. The Tunisian democracy faces high uncertainty, with a populist candidate, Nabil Karoui, leading in the polls. Among other unprecedented circumstances, the presidential election will precede parliamentary elections set to take place next month. This is due to an exceptional case: the death of the first democratically elected Tunisian president this past July. The reversed order of operations and the unique variety of candidates pose a threat to an already fragile process. Here’s what you should know.

The top two candidates identify as populists.

The name Nabil Karoui may be the biggest surprise of the presidential election.…  Seguir leyendo »

The funerary procession of late Tunisian president Beji Caid Essebsi on 27 July. Photo: Getty Images.

After close to 100 candidate applications, Tunisia’s presidential election on 15 September will feature 27 confirmed candidates, reflecting the country’s fluid political situation and an ongoing split between traditional parties and alliances and enduring anti-establishment populism. The election has been moved up from its originally scheduled November date following the death of President Beji Caid Essebsi on 25 July.

Since the 2011 revolution, the Tunisian political landscape has shifted significantly as electoral coalitions have been made and unmade, and as established political parties have fractured into smaller parties or collapsed amid leadership disagreements. In this context, presidential candidates reflect less party platforms and affiliation and more the ambitions of self-styled charismatic figures.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Tunisian independent electoral commission announced last week the 26 candidates running in next month’s early presidential election. From among Tunisia’s political elite, the list includes the current and multiple former prime ministers, its defense minister and a former president. That’s in addition to a media mogul, a fugitive and, for the first time, an official candidate of the Ennahda Party.

Even though Tunisia has seen multiple elections since its 2011 revolution, this year’s presidential race is shaping up to be an exceptional one: hugely competitive and remarkably unpredictable.

The death of Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi on July 25 crucially reshaped the structure of the contest and upended the calculations of parties and candidates.…  Seguir leyendo »

As they went to the polls in the first ever free local elections in the Arab world after Lebanon, the Tunisian people offered their neighbours in the Maghreb and Europe a lesson in democratic politics. Those who voted inflicted heavy losses on the coalition of two political parties which has ruled the country for just over three years. The lay Nidaa, founded in 2012 by president Beji Caid Essebsi lost one third of its electors (900,000), its partner the Islamist Nahda, led by Rachid Ghannouchi,  half (50o,000). Independent lists won a plurality of votes, 32.9%. Hope resides in the fact that 47% of new municipal councillors are women and 37% are under 35.…  Seguir leyendo »

A supporter, right, of an independent local party distributes election leaflets in l’Ariana, outside Tunis, 0n May 4. (AP Photo/Hassene Dridi)

On May 6, Tunisia held its first democratic local elections more than seven years after the collapse of the authoritarian regime. While these elections signify an important step for local governance, the intense period of candidate recruitment that preceded them also offers a unique window into party decision-making.

During the two months before the elections, I conducted more than 40 interviews with party leaders at the national and local level and candidates from partisan and independent lists to explore how they recruited candidates. The results hint at why some parties and lists garnered more votes and how politics may be changing.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Tunisian policeman dressed in civilian clothing casts his vote April 29 during municipal elections at a polling station for the police and military in Tunis. (Hassene Dridi/AP)

On May 6, Tunisian citizens will finally head to the polls for the country’s first municipal elections since its 2011 popular uprising. Voters will cast ballots in all of the country’s 24 governorates for 7,212 available council seats in 350 municipalities, including 86 new municipalities created since 2015. Delayed twice since originally planned in 2016, these elections are another milestone in Tunisia’s tumultuous ongoing transition.

What’s at stake

Tunisia hosted a highly centralized political system under former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the ruling party, the Democratic Constitution Rally (RCD). Eighty percent of municipal council seats were legally guaranteed to members of the ruling party, and the president of the municipality was required to be a member of the RCD’s local coordination committee.…  Seguir leyendo »

La Tunisie s’apprête à élire un nouveau président pour sa toute jeune République. Nidaa Tounès, la coalition qui a emporté le plus grand nombre de sièges aux dernières élections législatives, présente le candidat donné favori : Bèji Caid Essebsi. Sa candidature est également appuyée par Afek Tounès, parti néolibéral de «compétences», et confortée par des retraits in extremis de candidats en sa faveur. Celle-ci rallie au-delà tous ceux qui sont terrorisés par la dramaturgie sécuritaire au point de souhaiter le retour du régime autoritaire ou de minimiser les risques de sa restauration.

De nombreuses critiques ciblent cet homme politique. Au-delà de son âge et de son état de santé, l’argument le plus puissant à son encontre est qu’il est le candidat choisi par une coalition politique qui, en dépit de la présence de figures démocrates, représente les forces contre-révolutionnaires de la Tunisie.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les électeurs tunisiens ont tranché : le parti Nidaa Tounes arrive en tête des élections législatives. Contrairement à ce qu’ont affirmé une partie de la presse internationale et certains «intellectuels» militants français, ces résultats ne sont pas une victoire des «laïcs» sur les «islamistes».

Le parti Nidaa Tounes n’est pas plus «laïc» que le parti Ennahdha n’est «islamiste» voire «intégriste». Nidaa Tounes se revendique davantage comme séculariste. Le terme même de laïcité est impropre dans un pays dans lequel la configuration des rapports du religieux et du politique est originale. L’Etat est un Etat civil, la charia n’est pas source de droit.…  Seguir leyendo »

Three elections that offer hope of better times

Sunday, Oct. 26, was a busy day: three elections, in three different continents, all of them offering at least the hope of better times.

First, Brazil, where President Dilma Rousseff eked out a second-round victory with 51.6 percent of the votes versus 48.4 percent for the challenger, Aecio Neves, who was quick to acknowledge her victory. She was equally prompt in admitting that things had to change. “Sometimes in history, close outcomes trigger results more quickly than ample victories,” she said.

Most people took that as an admission that she will have to give more attention to growing the economy and a little less to redistributing the proceeds.…  Seguir leyendo »

Almost a year after the Arab rebellion was set in motion, the curtain is rising on Act Two of the drama that is transforming the region.

In Tunisia, a big step was taken by holding credible elections. In Egypt, elections should start on Monday, but the country lacks the consensus to follow Tunisia in moving smoothly to the next stage.

While Western audiences are gripped by the performance of Islamic parties, in Egypt it is the technical details of constitutional and electoral arrangements that hold the key to how the drama unfolds.

The script of Tunisia’s transition was crafted back in spring when the country’s interim authorities adopted an electoral system.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tema: El 23 de octubre los tunecinos concurrieron a las elecciones para la Asamblea Constituyente, en los que han sido los primeros comicios universales y libres del país, como vía para consolidar la transición política hacia la democracia.

Resumen: Las elecciones del 23 de octubre se desarrollaron con gran normalidad, lo que constituye un hito importante para Túnez y, por extensión, para el resto del mundo árabe. Ha sido un gran éxito del pueblo tunecino tras 23 años de férrea dictadura, una vez expulsado el anterior jefe del Estado, Zine al Abidine Ben Ali, el pasado 14 de enero y después de desactivar todos los aparatos del anterior régimen dictatorial.…  Seguir leyendo »

Yesterday, millions of Tunisians lined up – some for several hours – to vote in their country's first free election. Some voters came with their children to show them, they said, what democracy looks like. Many were also voting for the first time, having refused to take part in the masquerade that electoral politics was under the oppressive regime of their deposed dictator, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The road to the polling stations has not been easy. For weeks after the dictator Ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia, which gave him asylum, members of his ruling party, the RCD, sowed chaos.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les tunisiens éliront leurs représentants à l'assemblée constituante, la deuxième dans l'histoire du pays, le 23 octobre. Parmi d'autres prérogatives, ils auront en charge d'élaborer la troisième constitution du pays. La Tunisie est, il n'est pas inutile de le rappeler, le premier pays arabe à s'être doté d'une constitution. La première est octroyée le 26 avril 1861 par le Bey en application du pacte fondamental de 1857, mais elle sera, sous la pression des conservateurs, définitivement "suspendue" trois ans plus tard. La seconde, est élaborée aux lendemains de l'indépendance en 1957. Entrée en vigueur en 1959, son application a pris fin en février dernier.…  Seguir leyendo »

Les disparités entre les villes côtières et le reste du pays sont telles qu'une explosion sociale est prévisible. On a longtemps, trop longtemps, vanté les vertus de la politique économique de Ben Ali. Une Tunisie florissante, nous disait-on, une Tunisie submergée par le tourisme, une Tunisie fournissant une main d'œuvre bon marché aux entrepreneurs européens. Une carte postale pour homme d'affaires naïf. Le Fonds monétaire international décernait bon point sur bon point, sur la base de chiffres faussés par l'administration du dictateur. Après deux jours de tourisme statistique, l'organisation quittait le pays, sourire aux lèvres, bronzage avéré.

Telle Catherine II, la dictature a construit des villages Potemkine afin de séduire investisseurs et zélotes du maillot de bains.…  Seguir leyendo »

Sept millions de Tunisiens seront appelés à élire 217 constituants, le 23 octobre. Le scrutin qui semblait évoquer le deuxième acte d'une révolution populaire fait désormais penser à des "élections de la peur". Les démocrates radicaux ont troqué leur impatience contre de la désillusion. Les jeunes émeutiers de décembre 2010 sont de nouveau indignes. Ces élections censées prouver au monde que la Tunisie de 2011 n'est pas l'Algérie de 1991 sont scrutées à la loupe par le monde entier, en particulier par les chancelleries occidentales qui veulent en faire un test grandeur nature de la gouvernance démocratique dans la région arabe.…  Seguir leyendo »

Immediately after independence on 20 March 1956, Tunisians convened their first constituent assembly, with the goal of establishing the political system and type of society they had aspired to for decades under French colonial rule. The assembly sat for three years but it did not build a democratic state and a just society. Instead, it established a system that was republican on the surface but monarchist in reality, with Habib Bourguiba as its vulgar king.

Bourguiba inserted a clause in the constitution in 1974 decreeing his presidency for life under a one-party state, propped up by a powerful political police. He concentrated on developing the eastern regions, especially his own coastal region.…  Seguir leyendo »

Tunisia is days away from its first elections for a national constituent assembly. Despite delays and obstructions, Tunisians anticipate 23 October with immense hope – a date that is the culmination of their revolution, of the struggle of generations of women and men of diverse political and intellectual persuasions against despotism and for freedom, equality and dignity.

These elections are not only critical for Tunisia, but for the wider region and beyond. They present an opportunity to bury once and for all theories of the so-called "Arab exception" and prove that democracy can emerge and flourish .

In these elections, Ennahda is – according to several opinion polls – set to win a considerable share of the vote.…  Seguir leyendo »