With few people paying attention, Tunisia, birth place of Arab Spring, has successful parliament elections this week. The Arab Spring has fizzled out in rest of the Middle East, but is still alive and thriving in Tunisia. The elections in Tunisia have some lessons for other Muslim countries.
In this week’s elections, the main Islamist party, Ennahda, was defeated by the liberal and secular party, Nida Tunis. The Islamist party did not deliver on its promises. especially fight against terrorism, during its 3 year rule. The liberals and secularists in Egypt should have shown some foresight and wait till the next elections to defeat Muslim Brotherhood. Unfortunately they chose the short cut, and now they are facing the most brutal military dictatorship in history. Military rule is never the answer to the problems of a country.
The Islamists in Tunisia were also politically wiser than Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt and accommodated Liberal Party’s views during their rule. Before this week’s elections, the Islamist Party announced that they will not field any candidate for President in November elections. It was to accommodate the liberals in ruling the country.
The Islamist party has conceded defeat and promised to work with Nida Tunis to build the country. The supporters of Ennahda Party celebrated outside its headquarters what they called ‘Victory for all Tunisians”. Even in defeat they were happy that Tunisia is on the road to democracy. I hope leaders in Pakistan can learn some lesson also, and show some maturity to accept defeat gracefully and help to build the country as a loyal opposition.
During the current UN general assembly session, ironically President Obama made sure that he has a meeting with Dictator General Sissi of Egypt, but he did not meet with President of Tunisia, the only success story of Arab Spring. Perhaps Tunisia is lucky in this regard, because anywhere we Americans got involved, the results were not promising.