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Ennahda as a Neo-Islamist political Party in Power (2011-2014)

Chamkhi, T. (215) Ennahda as a Neo-Islamist political Party in Power (2011-2014). In: An Arab Exception? The Role of Civil Society in Tunisia’s Democratic Transition, 27 July 2015, Deakin University, Buwood Victoria, Australia, 3125 pp. 1-24.

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The Tunisian Ennahda, party was the first Islamic party to win a free election after the Arab Spring and the first Islamic party in modern Arab history to lead a freely elected government. Notably, Ennahda was also the first Arab Islamist party ever to share power with a secular party. By early 2014, it had become the first Islamist-led government to relinquish power peacefully, political unrest notwithstanding. In this paper, Ennahda is evaluated on the basis of three criteria in order to determine whether it is capable of participating in and furthering the democratic transition in Tunisia. The first criterion, involving moderation, examines Ennahda's attitudes towards democracy, an open society and the free market economy, Tunisia’s non-Islamic political parties, and generally, tolerance of differing religious and political points of view. The second criterion examines Ennahda's management of the post-revolution economic crisis. Has Ennahda been successful in resolving some of the country's urgent economic problems during its relatively short time in power during the transitional period? Does Ennahda have the ideological and intellectual capacity for formulating viable economic policies once in power? The third criterion relates to Ennahda's actions and reactions to Jihadi Salafism in particular its terrorist threats, which has become the main challenge for post-Ben Ali Tunisia.

In addition, it is likely that civil society elements have played an integral role in the mobilisation of a strong front anti Ennahda. This has led the later to adjust its stance on key issues e.g. the constitution; consensus politics; power handover to the Jomaa government. This paper will investigate whether Ennahda has been able to exhibit ideological pragmatism as well as political flexibility to remain a significant player in domestic politics or not.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Management and Governance
Publisher: Deakin University
Copyright: The Author
Conference Website:
Notes: Symposium: An Arab Exception? The role of Civil Society in Tunisia’s Democratic Transition”. An International symposium hosted by the UNESCO Chair, Cultural Diversity and Social Justice Monday 27 July 2015 Deakin University, Melbourne, VIC Australia.
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