Ennahda largest party
The modernist islamist party Ennahda has emerged as the largest party in the Constituent Assembly elections which took place on Sunday. With 101 of the 217 seats declared so far, Ennahda has taken 43 seats in the Constituent Assembly.
Beyond Ennahda, most of the eleven additional parties that won seats are believed to be secular parties. The second and fourth placed parties, Congress for the Republic (CPR) a centre left secular party with 16 seats and Ettakatol, also a centre left secular party with 10 seats are believed to be discussing a coalition.
The big surprise was the success of the Popular Petition for Freedom, Justice and Development. The party which was founded by the London based millionaire, Mohamed Hechim Haamdi, won 12 seats. Haamdi is known to be a close ally of the deposed leader Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and is said to have used his television network to campaign for votes.
Another party with links to Ben Ali, Initiative, took two seats.
The other big surprise was the lack of success of the centrist and secular Progressive Democratic Party (PDP) coming fifth with just five seats. It is believed that the reason for their lack of success was their aggressive campaign against Islamist parties including Ennahda; whereas the CPR and Ettakatol took a more conciliatory tone. The lesson being that the people of Tunisia clearly do not want religion to become a battleground within political circles.
Full results are still to be announced, but the complexion of the Constituent Assembly is unlikely to change dramatically.