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Al Nahda seeks partners

Party takes 15 of 39 seats in early official Tunisian poll results as CPR wins six

Tunisians hold up banners during a protest against the moderate Islamic party Al Nahda in Tunis
Image Credit: AP
Tunisians hold up banners during a protest against the moderate Islamic party Al Nahda in Tunis, on Tuesday.

Tunisia's main Islamist party, the emerging powerhouse in Tunisian politics, yesterday welcomed partnerships with other parties to lead talks to form the country's first democratic government.

"We seek to work together with whoever wants to achieve the objectives of the revolution," Samir Dilo, a member of Al Nahda, said.

Al Nahda took the lead in early official results yesterday, with 15 of 39 seats in five polling districts, including the cities of Sousse and Sfax, the election body said.

The leftist Congress for the Republic (CPR) was in second place with six seats, followed by a list led by independent candidate Hashemi Haamdi, a rich London-based businessman, with five seats, it said at a press conference.

Two days after the elections, the focus in Tunisia has shifted from which party has won to who will team up with Al Nahda in the constituent assembly as it drafts a new constitution and chooses an interim president and a caretaker prime minister for one year.

The Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), a centre-left formation that performed poorly, on Monday said that it would not join an alliance and would remain in the opposition.

However, Monsiff Marzouqi, the leader of the CPR that has performed better than expected, said that his party was willing to discuss all options. Dilo said that Al Nahda's campaigning strategy contributed to its success.

Al Nahda sought also to reassure the nation about the future. "We will not use our victory to draft a constitution according to our ideology, but rather according to that of the people. The guarantees are the media, the judiciary system, a vivacious civil society and the respect of the people's willpower," Dilo said.

Meanwhile, about 100 Tunisians protested outside the headquarters of the independent electoral body against "fraud" they claimed had marred the country's first-ever democratic vote.

"No, no to fraud," chanted the group of mainly young people, pointing the finger at the Al Nahda.

The protesters called for a probe into the finances of some parties.