Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/692/13076

From The Socialist newspaper, 2 November 2011

Tunisia: Elections mask the growing anger from below

Following the revolutionary events at the start of 2011 in Tunisia, in which the country's youth, unemployed and workers overthrew the 24-year long dictatorship of president Ben Ali, elections have recently taken place for a constituent assembly. The assembly is supposed to rewrite the constitution, choose a new interim government, and set dates for parliamentary and presidential elections.

The elections saw the victory of the Islamist party Ennahda, which opens a new, complex situation, against the background of a continuing crisis in the economy, and a deep thirst for social change among the masses. The following edited report is from a CWI reporter. The full report can be read on www.socialistworld.net

After decades of dictatorship, and the farcical polls that have characterised all the past elections under Ben Ali's rule, these elections were for many Tunisians the first time in their life to vote in the framework of 'real elections'. This gives an important explanation for the large electoral turnout.

It is clear that the Islamist party Ennahda comes through by far as the first party, leading in almost every region, winning around 90 seats in the 217-seat constituent assembly, with 40% of the vote.

At first sight, this may appear surprising as, at the start of the year, this party was hardly visible in the mass protests, and its role in the revolution has been non-existent.

However, the party has benefited from the lack of a challenging alternative on the left, giving the opportunity for Ennahda to fill the political vacuum.

Relying on a network of charitable organisations active in the poorest neighbourhoods and towns, and on huge financial means allegedly pouring in from the Gulf monarchies, Ennahda has campaigned all over the country exploiting people's frustrations by playing on their religious sentiments and on a populist social rhetoric.

"I voted Ennahda because the other parties want 10% of the population to live in luxury while the rest of the population remain in poverty," explained an elderly man interviewed in a French-speaking newspaper.

Fears of a 'hidden' agenda by Ennahda have been reinforced by the fact that some groups of Salafists have flexed their muscles in the recent months, attacking a cinema and a TV station over material they considered blasphemous, demonstrating to demand an "Islamic revolution", and physically attacking left activists and women.

However, Ennahda will lack an absolute majority in the new assembly and will find it difficult to impose a hardline agenda, especially in a country that has just experienced a revolution.

Riots

There was an unexpected breakthrough by the list El Aridha (People's Petition Party). It is led by a millionaire, Hechmi Haamdi - a former Islamist, who then became an open ally of the former Ben Ali regime before turning against him - who owns a TV station, broadcasting by satellite from London.

With a populist programme, he also exploited the fact that he came from Sidi Bouzid, playing on regionalist resentment against the relatively higher living standards of northern coast cities. All this without even putting a foot inside Tunisia during the whole electoral campaign.

However, because of the number of obvious irregularities of his campaign, Haamdi's lists have been cancelled in six regions, which has pushed him to cancel all the other lists in the aftermath, denouncing the 'rotten' character of the assembly.

The cancellation of seats led to protests and riots in Sidi Bouzid on 27 October, involving the burning of the regional Ennahda's headquarters. It was in Sidi Bouzid that fruit seller Mohamed Bouazizi, an unemployed university graduate, set himself on fire on 17 December last year to protest against abuses under Ben Ali's 23-year-old regime.

"The ruling class will now try to use the 'success story' of these elections in an attempt to close the revolutionary chapter, to bring back politics from the streets to the institutions, from the creative energy of the masses towards a caste of professional politicians, the majority of them having played no role in the revolution whatsoever. But the 'people of the assembly' are not 'the people of the revolution'," comments Dali, a Tunisian activist.

The impression of relative stability and the hopes of a smooth, orderly democratic transition could be short-lived. Sporadic protests and strikes have continued on a regular basis and a national postal workers' strike to demand wage increases has started.

Tunisia faces a deep crisis, and remains marked by profound social contradictions. Indeed, the daily lives of the Tunisian masses have hardly changed. If anything, they have got worse.

The revolution is far from finished. New outbreaks of struggle are inevitable, as a restoration and stabilisation of the existing economic system can only be done by blocking the masses' aspirations for a new life, that have been awakened by their revolution.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.


In The Socialist 2 November 2011:


Building anti-cuts action

Bosses prosper, workers suffer...

30 November and beyond

Workers can show their power in 30 November strike


Socialist Party workplace news

An interview with Mick Dooley

'Virgin' on the outrageous

Workplace news in brief


Socialist Party

Why you should join the Socialist Party

Read the Socialist - the paper that fights all the cuts


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bradford joins the 'Occupy' movement

Jarrow marchers in solidarity action at Northampton university

Liverpool council 'does its best' for the bankers

Lansley closes another hospital A&E department


Socialist Party news and analysis

As the Jarrow March for Jobs arrives in London... Youth demand their future!

No return to hire and fire - Tories consider abolishing more workers' rights

Fast News


International socialist news and analysis

Tunisia: Elections mask the growing anger from below

Ireland: Spectacular election result for socialists

Tony Blair advises Kazakhstan's dictatorial regime


Socialist Party reviews

Battle for Bexley Square

The World's Biggest Bomb

1985 school strike exhibit shows how young people can organise to fight back


 

Home   |   The Socialist 2 November 2011   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  




Related links:

Tunisia:

triangleAttacks ratchet-up Syrian conflict and fuel tensions between powers

triangleSyria: Is an end to the war in sight?

triangleSocialist Party national congress 2016

triangleNew wave of protests in Tunisia

triangleTerrorist attacks: working class people pay the price

Revolution:

triangle'Dazzling' Bad Art show points to socialist future

triangleOctober 1917 reviews: 'More bright than any heaven'

triangleRussia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangleWarrington & St Helens Socialist Party: 1917-2017; the October Russian Revolution

CWI:

triangleCampaign against political repression in Hong Kong

triangleCan you donate to the Socialism 2017 appeal?

triangleChe Guevara 50 years on - revolutionary socialist and fighter

Islamic:

triangleCondemnation of racist destruction of Muswell Hill Islamic centre in London

triangleLondon demo: Stop the BNP! - updated

International

International

18/10/17

Hong Kong

Campaign against political repression in Hong Kong

11/10/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Workers can finish what Puigdemont won't

4/10/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia - the people have the right to decide

4/10/17

Catalonia

Eyewitness: Irish socialist MP participates in events

2/10/17

Catalonia

Exemplary resistance by the people of Catalonia

27/9/17

Germany

Germany: Election results in political earthquake

27/9/17

Catalonia

Strike against Madrid's 'state of emergency'!

27/9/17

Germany

German elections: rise of the far right and right-wing government will provoke resistance

27/9/17

France

French Labour reform protests

25/9/17

Catalonia

Catalonia: Student strike called

20/9/17

Myanmar

Brutal repression of Rohingya people sparks massive humanitarian crisis

20/9/17

Catalonia

Solidarity with Catalonia in the Spanish state

15/9/17

Germany

Berlin hospital strike

13/9/17

Korea

Korean peninsula: is nuclear war likely?

13/9/17

Students

Interview with leader of students' union in the Spanish state: "When we fight, we win!"

triangleMore International articles...


Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party

triangle19 Oct Arriva North West bus drivers strike over pay

triangle18 Oct Russia, October 1917: When workers took power

triangle18 Oct Tories torn - bin them now

triangle18 Oct Royal Mail bosses block strike - back postal workers

triangle18 Oct Balloting members on the pay cap

triangle13 Oct The end of the Tories?

triangle11 Oct Nasty party imploding...drive out the Tories

More ...

triangle21 Oct Birmingham: NSSN Solidarity Forum

triangle23 Oct Chesterfield Socialist Party: The continuing struggle for abortion rights

triangle24 Oct Liverpool Socialist Party: The October Russian Revolution 100 years ago to the day

triangle25 Oct Salford Socialist Party: The October 1917 Russian revolution

More ...

Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube

Archive

Archives:

October 2017

September 2017

August 2017

July 2017

June 2017

May 2017

April 2017

March 2017

February 2017

January 2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2012

2011

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

1999

Legal

SP RSS feed RSS

Platform setting: = No platform choice

V2