Tunisia | 04 November 2019

Tunisia: Will newly elected president keep radical Islamic influence at bay?

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Tunisia held both parliamentary and presidential elections in October 2019. The parliamentary elections on 6 October delivered a hung parliament with neither secularists nor Islamists making a clear win. Two outsiders made it to the run-off of the presidential elections on 13 October. Law professor and conservative Kaies Saied and liberal media-tycoon Karoui had defeated 22 contenders in the first round. Finally, with more than 70% of the votes, the second round was won by Saied, as reported by The Guardian on 14 October 2019. ‚  Michael Bosch, persecution analyst at World Watch Research, comments: "Kaies Saied"s political agenda is not yet clear, but he wants to end corruption and break with the political maneuvering of the established parties. He is a conservative, opposing equal inheritance rights for men and women, but he is also a moderate - his wife appears unveiled, for example. That is why a strange mix of both modernly dressed women and bearded Islamists celebrated his victory on the streets."‚  Michael Bosch continues: " Tunisian society hopes that Saied will be able to bridge the Islamist and secularist divide and unite the country in order to strengthen the economy and bring down the high levels of unemployment, especially among the youth. The results of both elections could have been worse for the small Christian minority in Tunisia, but there are no signs that freedom of religion will improve in the short term. In the long term, however, Saied"s moderate stance might help to keep radical Islamic influences and the Islamist agenda in check."  


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