Report on the First Tunisian Multiparty Legislative Elections
After a third of a century's experience in single-party elections, Tunisian voters were offered their first multiparty electoral choice in the general elections of 2 April 1989. The elections were free and fair, and the results were probably reported accurately. Out of a population of about 8 million and a voting-age (over 18) population of about 4 million, 2.7 million, or 76.46%, voted. Candidates from the ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), averaged about 1.7 million votes. All of them were elected. Although none of the 353 opposition candidates were elected, the vote effectively endowed Tunisia with a two-party system plus an unusual twist: The second "party", the Islamic Fundamentalist Nahda or Renaissance Party, still remains to be recognized, and its religious nature poses a serious problem to the Tunisian self-image in the current context. However, continued rejection of the party's request may well revive equally serious problems for domestic peace and stability in Tunisia.