Tunisia Wins Again! NYT

Few weeks ago Tunisia’s secular party, Nidaa Tounes, defeated Islamist Party, Ennahda , in Parliamentary elections. Few days ago secular candidate won Presidential elction. The power has been peacefully transferred from the Islamist party to secular party. The solution to deal with islamist parties ,who want to bring Sharia Laws ,is to defeat them in the polls and not shut them out of the process by force. Following is editorial from NYT. ( F. Sheikh)

With the election of its first freely chosen president, Tunisia has taken another important step on its post-Arab Spring transition toward democracy. Although the country faces many difficult challenges, it remains a symbol of hope and sanity in a region consumed by chaos and dominated by authoritarian governments.

The winner, Beji Caid Essebsi, is an 88-year-old former government official and leader of the secular, anti-Islamist party Nidaa Tounes. Mr. Essebsi received 55.68 percent of the vote, while Moncef Marzouki, the interim president, received 44.32 percent.

Mr. Essebsi served as interior minister under Tunisia’s repressive first president, Habib Bourguiba, and as speaker of Parliament under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was ousted in the 2011 Arab Spring revolution. During the campaign, he promoted himself as an establishment figure whose experience could help ensure Tunisia’s security. Mr. Marzouki, a former human rights advocate, embodied the ideals and fervor of the revolution.

After the results were announced on Monday, Mr. Marzouki conceded defeat, and Mr. Essebsi made a speech in which he thanked his rival and promised to “work together without excluding anyone.” Mr. Essebsi also praised the people who took part and died in the 2011 revolution. The importance of such gestures cannot be underestimated; in many countries, stolen ballots, bitterly contested outcomes and hostility toward political adversaries are all too common.

American officials and experts who know Mr. Essebsi expect him to be an inclusive leader who will work to advance liberal goals like women’s rights and education.

While he will have to satisfy his secular, Western-oriented supporters, one of Mr. Essebsi’s biggest challenges will be cooperating with Ennahda, the country’s Islamist party, which has worked hard to prove that Islam and democracy can coexist.