By Giada Frana
Preliminary data from ISIE (the state authority responsible for the election) shows that Nidaa Tounes outperformed the Ennahda (Renaissance) Movement in Tunisia’s parliamentary elections.
While the official results have yet to be announced, the preliminary results show the secular party is set to obtain 85 seats against the 69 of its rival.
The Tunisian legislature, the Assembly of Representatives, has a total of 217 seats, with a minimum of 109 seats required to form a government. Given these numbers, Kais Saied, professor of constitutional law at the University of Tunis, said it is clear that Nidaa Tounes will not be able to govern alone. It will, instead, need to form a coalition government with other political parties.
Nidaa Tounes leader Beji Caid Essebsi acknowledged the necessity of coalition building in an interview on the television network Al-Hiwar Ettounsi on Monday night. He said he was open to the possibility of establishing alliances with other political forces in the best interest of the country.
Ennahda’s leader Rachid Gannouchi phoned Essebsi on Monday night to congratulate him on the victory. A photo posted by Soumaya Ghannouchi, picturing her father in the act of making the phone call, has gone viral on Tunisian social media. Despite its electoral defeat, Ennahda held a celebratory rally in front of its headquarters in Tunis Monday, recognising that the elections themselves represented a victory for all of Tunisia.
Nidaa Tounes is a secular pro-business party, while Ennahda is of Islamist orientation. On social media, many Tunisians are now discussing the possibility that the two parties may form a coalition to create a national unity government. It is also a possibility to which Gannouchi himself hinted in a recent interview with an Algerian television network.