Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Ennahda's Transition Legacy

When the Muslim Brotherhood came to power in Egypt, I said it would be critical for them to remember that they were chosen to supervise a transition, not implement their full agenda.  They tried the latter, and Egypt is paying the price.  Their Islamist counterparts in Tunisia got it:
Unlike its Egyptian counterpart, the Muslim Brotherhood, also elected after a popular uprising in 2011 but removed by the army last year and outlawed, Ennahda has survived a succession of crises and is set to step down to ensure a peaceful transition.

Tunisia’s Islamist party has pledged to relinquish power in the coming days, under a deal that aims to see an electoral commission formed and the draft charter ratified by January 14, the third anniversary of the revolution.

Since the scrutiny of the new constitution began last week, they have accepted a lesser role for Islam, and the principle of equal rights for women, while holding to their promise not to criminalise “attacks on the sacred”.

For independent political analyst Selim Kharrat, Ennahda chose consensus, more than two years after triumphing in parliamentary polls, to be able to hand over power with its head held high.
The article notes Tunisia's ongoing social and economic problems, and that a bit of political calculation is involved in how Ennahda is handling things.  There always is, however, and I don't think that tarnishes the constructive role the party has played in this historic transition.



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