Friday, February 28

Why Tunisia's Islamist Party Agreed to Give Up Power

There are four fascinating political experiments going on son, in the Islamic governing political economic spheres. Like in Iran, turkey, Egypt and Tunisia. Mind you, pretty much all Muslim countries are constantly struggling with democracy, rule of law and the role of Islam. But these 4 are the furthest advanced. Iran has had the longest history of constitutionalism going back almost 100 years. Turkey started even earlier but stuttered. Egypt frankly started and has now gone back even further. Tunisia seems to be the most advanced and if I had to put money down, I would say that Tunisia will reach civilisation the earliest compared to the others. Despite the issues they are facing with assassinations and demonstrations. It's an urbanised society so the usual rural obscurantist structures are avoided. Mind you, the Bahrain example is the counter example for urbanism. Then again the gulf Arabs are particularly well noted to be a bunch of weirdass morons. There's a very good reason why Allah decided to emerge his religion in the gulf. Imagine what they would have been without it when you see what they have done up till now with it. 

But politics is this. The spirit of consensus and compromise. And religion usually doesn't allow you to do so hence the utmost importance of having a secular structure son. 

I'm hoping Tunisia can show the way to how a liberal consensus driven democratic society with some elements of Islam can be part of this modern world son. Turkey went a bit too far with the secularism so it's trying to get back into balance. Iran went totally the other way with religiously driven politics. And well you know the utter mess Egypt is in. 

So interesting days ahead to watch how Tunisia is going to play out.



Rory McCarthy | Why Tunisia's Islamist Party Agreed to Give Up Power | Foreign Affairs

Three years after the popular uprising that brought down President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, demonstrations, sit-ins, and strikes have become part of daily life in Tunisia. Railway workers, customs officers, and doctors went on strike earlier this month over changes to their working conditions; next month, taxi drivers will begin an open-ended sit-in to protest rising fuel prices. Politics often seem hopelessly polarized, with Islamists led by the political party Ennahda pitted against their secular opponents in parliament in a manner not unlike Egypt’s bloody rivalries. And the assassinations of two prominent liberal politicians, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, by Islamist militants earlier this year brought public anger against Ennahda into the streets, as many Tunisians blamed the Islamists for a soft embrace of extremist groups. It appeared that Tunisia — whose largely functional democratic transition has set it apart from the other Arab Spring countries — would no longer avoid the violence that has undermined the other revolutions and uprisings across the Middle East.

But for the first time in a long time, the political class has reached an accord. On December 14, after weeks of broken promises and missed deadlines, Tunisia’s rival political parties finally agreed on a deal to dissolve the Ennahda-led government and create an interim administration led by a compromise prime minister. If all goes according to plan, Mehdi Jomaa, who had previously served as minister of industry, will lead a caretaker government of technocrats until elections can be held next year, most likely after the summer. It’s further confirmation that, despite their ideological differences, Tunisia’s Islamists and secularists are perfectly capable of cooperating. It’s also another sign of pragmatism from the Islamists, who in October 2011 swept the first elections after the fall of Ben Ali. Now Ennahda, an Islamist force that sees itself as both a grassroots movement and a political party, has agreed to bow to the demands of its critics and give up power.

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