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Islamist Party Takes Half Of Overseas Seats In Tunisia

<p>Unidentified supporters of the islamist Ennahda party reacts at the party's headquarters in Tunis on Monday.</p>
Amine Landoulsi

Unidentified supporters of the islamist Ennahda party reacts at the party's headquarters in Tunis on Monday.

Some of the results of Tunisia's first elections since the overthrow of its longtime dictator are in: The AP reports that "a leading Islamist party has taken half the seats reserved for Tunisians living abroad."

And in a statement, the opposing secular party conceded defeat. Via Reuters, they issued this statement:

"The PDP (Progressive Democratic Party) respects the democratic game. The people gave their trust to those it considers worthy of that trust. We congratulate the winner and we will be in the ranks of the opposition."

The New York Times callsEnnahda, the Islamist party, "moderate," because its "party's leaders had vowed to create another kind of new model for the Arab world, one reconciling Islamic principles with Western-style democracy."

The Times adds:

Final results were expected to be computed within days. In the meantime, those still struggling through the postrevolutionary uncertainty of places like Libya and Egypt watched Tunisia "with a kind of envy," said Samer Soliman, a professor at the American University in Cairo and an Egyptian political activist.

Libyans and Egyptians acknowledge that Tunisia was not only the first but also the easiest of the Arab revolutions, because of its relatively small, homogenous, educated population and because of the willingness of the Tunisian military to relinquish power. The success of Tunisia offers inspiration, but perhaps few answers, for Egyptians or Libyans who hope to follow in its footsteps.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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