Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Here Come the Arab Elections!

Here Come the Arab Elections!

Tunisia, Egypt, and the formation of an opposition leadership in Syria.

By Barry Rubin

Tunisia has scheduled elections for October 23. The National Constituent Assembly will have 218 members and will draw up a new constitution. Remember, by the way, that Tunisia has the most secular-oriented constitution in the Arab world. One wonders what will happen in that regard.

This assembly will also set the rules for parliamentary and presidential elections to be held at some time next year.

Tunisia’s Islamists are weaker than in any other Muslim-majority country in the Middle East. A different problem, however, has developed: the incredible division of other parties. Thus while the Islamist party, Ennahda, is at only about 20 percent, the rest of the vote is divided about 80 parties, no one of which has huge support at this point. To give a sense of this mess, note that there are about 11,000 candidates for these seats, which means about 50 per seat!

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