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Alarm as Islamists set to rule Tunisia

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1 Alarm as Islamists set to rule Tunisia on Št. 10 29, 2011 1:57 am

THE euphoria that marked Tunisia's first-ever democratic elections has swiftly switched to anxiety among liberals and women shocked by an Islamist party triumph and the collapse of the left.
''There is general desolation and frustration,'' Faouzia Hamila, a public cheap jerseysservant, said of the al-Nahda Islamist party's commanding lead, yet to be confirmed by official results.
''My colleagues and I are so shocked that nobody managed to do their work today,'' she said.
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Al-Nahda, which was banned under the regime of ousted dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, took a commanding lead in provisional tallies of the Arab Spring's first elections.
It failed to achieve an outright majority and quickly set wholesale jerseys about negotiations for a new government.
Al-Nahda says it models itself on the ruling AKP party in Turkey, another Muslim-majority country which, like Tunisia to date, is a secular state.
But its critics accuse the party of being moderate in public and radical in the mosques. They express particular concern over its commitment to retain Tunisian women's status as the most liberated in the Arab world.
''The statements of the al-Nahda leaders seeking to assure us cheap nfl jerseys of their commitment to respecting women's rights have not convinced us,'' said Hamila, 58. Shortly after the historic vote, al-Nahda sought to reassure women that it would not touch their rights.
''We respect the rights of women … and equality between Tunisians whatever their religion, their gender or their social status,'' party executive member Nourreddine Bhiri said.
Ryadh Ben Fadhel, cheap nfl jerseys a co-ordinator of the Modernist Democratic Pole (PDM), which groups together several liberal and leftist parties, said, ''There is a lot of bitterness in the democratic camp'' after the polls. ''The youth and women were at the heart of our movement and of its program. We lost.''
But Juneidi Abdeljawad, a leader of the leftist Ettajdid party that is the driving force in the PDM, said the result, though disappointing, did not represent defeat.
''We won the battle for parity by putting women at the head of all our lists [of candidates]. It is an achievement of the revolution and we will continue fighting for it to be respected in all future elected assemblies.''
Tunisia's many militant feminist associations have yet to issue any official reaction to the Islamist political victory.
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