Ennahda, the moderately Islamic party, won the first free election held last month in Tunisia, scoring some 40 per cent of all votes. It will lead the first freely-elected coalition government since the Arab Spring started.
…we have had a penchant for missing the enormous diversity that characterises the Muslim world and the Arab countries
Whether we like it or not, it is more than likely that Islamic parties will emerge as the largest political groups in those Arab countries where the recent uprisings deposed the old regimes and ushered in a new political era that will, hopefully, lead to democracy.
Now that the furore of the revolution is over, the real work begins. And building democracy also means having free elections and letting the people decide whomsoever they want to govern them. In Tunisia there is no doubt that the elections were free and fair. So what do we do if we do not like the result?
The EU and its member states are used to getting on with authoritarian regimes in Arab countries and it turned out that these regimes were repressive war-machines when the people cried out for freedom.
These so-called “secular” authoritarian regimes that have been removed from power in the Arab Spring used to frighten us in the West that if they lose power the “Islamists” would fill in the power vacuum and that would be catastrophic.