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Tunisian lawmaker calls for unity as Islamists admit defeat in key election

October 28th, 2014
05:51 PM ET

By Madalena Araujo, CNN

The Vice Chair of Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly called for unity on Tuesday, a day after her leading Islamist party conceded defeat in the country’s parliamentary election.

“We are convinced that we shall work together. Tunisians, whether we belong to such-or-such party, whether we are from civil society or political parties. We are still calling for this, calling to work together to push Tunisia forward on the path of democracy,” Mehrezia Labidi told CNN's Michael Holmes, in for Christiane Amanpour.

Although she won her seat in the election, Labidi’s Ennahda party lost out to its mainly secular rival Niida Tounes after Tunisians cast their ballots on Sunday. She said the outcome was expected.

“After the election of 2011 – Ennahda, and not only Ennahda but many other political parties and especially al-Takattul and Congress, they led the government in this very sensitive period of transition with all problems of unemployment, of development, of also the challenge of terrorism. And in such periods, the power indeed… erodes the trust of people and the government,” she said.

Tunisia, whose revolution marked the beginning of the Arab Spring, is often hailed as the movement's only success story. The country has remained relatively stable since the uprising, which overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. This was also the country’s first election under its new constitution.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Tunisia

If walls could talk

September 8th, 2014
06:13 AM ET

Imagine a world where a village's walls speak to all people of all languages.

Click above to watch.

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Imagine a World • Tunisia

Arab Spring ‘will not die’ in Tunisia, where it started, Tunisian President Marzouki tells Amanpour

October 2nd, 2013
03:31 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

The Arab Spring “will not die” in Tunisia, where it all started, President Moncef Marzouki told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

“I'm very, very confident,” he said in an interview that aired Wednesday.

Last weekend, the ruling Islamist democrats in Tunisia resigned, and in return the secular opposition ratified the constitution that the Islamists had been drafting for a year and a half.

It stands in stark contrast to the on-going blood in Syria and political chaos in Egypt.

“The situation in Tunisia is much easier because first of all, we have a homogenous society; this is extremely important,” Marzouki told Amanpour. “Even under the dictatorship we used to have a very strong civil society.”


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Tunisia

Why Tunisia ignored sharia law

November 29th, 2012
12:47 PM ET

By Samuel Burke, CNN

The Arab Spring countries of North Africa are struggling to balance their secular and Islamic roots, but the leader of Tunisia’s ruling party thinks he has the answer.

Rached Ghannouchi co-founded the Ennahda party, but only returned from 22 years in exile after Tunisia became the first country of the Arab Spring to oust its leader.

Secular Tunisians and national media have questioned how much sharia law would be enshrined in Tunisia’s new constitution, but Ghannouchi told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour on Wednesday that the problem has already been bypassed.

“There was some dispute about enshrining sharia,” he said, “that’s why we had to push away the controversy and we settled for what was said in the 1959 constitution about Tunisia as an Arab country.”  FULL POST

Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Egypt • Latest Episode • Tunisia