|Final results from October 23 national election confirm the dominant position of the once-banned Ennahda Party [AFP]|
The moderate Islamists of the Ennahda party have won 89 of the 217 seats in Tunisia’s new constituent assembly, according to the final results released by the country’s election commission.
The once-banned movement will write the fledgling democracy’s new constitution and appoint an interim government ahead of new elections tentatively scheduled for next year.
The runners up in the first free elections in the north African country were the left-wing Congress for the Republic (CPR) with 29 seats, and the Popular Petition with 26 seats.
The turnout was 54.1 per cent, according to the electoral commission on Monday, which specified that about four million of the 7.6 million registered voters cast their ballots in the election on October 23.
The left-wing Ettakatol party won 20 seats, the Progressist Democratic Party took 16, and the Democratic Modernist Pole took five.
Some of the remaining seats went to very small parties, including the Communists who won three. Sixteen seats went to candidates from independent lists.
The new constituent assembly will meet for the first time on November 22 in the old parliament building in Tunis.
The body’s task is to draw up a new constitution, after the ouster last January 14 of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the former president who had ruled Tunisia for 23 years.
The Tunisian uprising inspired similar pro-democracy movements elsewhere around the region, setting off what has been called the Arab Spring in the Middle East.
The assembly will also form a new executive branch of power and can legislate until general elections are held.
Ennahda has already put forward its deputy leader Hamadi Jebali for the post of prime minister, while discussions are in hand among the Islamists, the CPR and Ettakol for the choices of head of state and speaker of the constituent assembly.
Fouad Mebazaa, the interim president, and the provisional government led by Beji Caïd Essebsi, which was formed six weeks after the fall of Ben Ali, will remain in charge until a new team is ready to take over.
Ennahda has pledged to preserve Tunisia’s progressive legislation on women’s rights.