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2011-10-27

Ennahda win worries Tunisian left

The euphoria that marked Tunisia's first-ever democratic elections last Sunday has swiftly switched to anxiety among liberals and women shocked by an Islamist party triumph and the collapse of the left, AFP reported on Thursday (October 27th).

"There is general desolation and frustration," public servant Faouzia Hamila said Wednesday about the apparent Ennahda movement win.

Banned under the regime of ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, Ennahda took a commanding lead in provisional tallies of the Arab Spring's first elections. Critics accuse the party of being moderate in public and radical in the mosques, expressing particular concern over its commitment to retain Tunisian women's status as the most liberated in the Arab world.

Shortly after the historic Tunisia elections, Ennahda sought to reassure women that it would not touch their rights. "We respect the rights of women... and equality between Tunisians whatever their religion, their gender or their social status," executive party member Nourreddine Bhiri told AFP.

But Ryadh Ben Fadhel, a co-ordinator of the Modernist Democratic Pole (PDM) which groups together several liberal, leftist parties, said: "There is a lot of bitterness in the democratic camp" after the polls.

"The youth and women were at the heart of our movement and of its programme. We lost," he said.

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