Preliminary official results suggest Tunisia’s Islamist party Ennahda has come out as the largest party in legislative polls but failed to gain the majority required to form a government.
The Electoral Commission on Wednesday announced Ennahda has got only 52 of 217 seats which means it will have to struggle to build a governing coalition, reported Reuters. Ennahda has 17 fewer seats than it won in the last parliamentary election in 2014. It was also revealed that Rached Ghannouchi, who has led Ennahda for a long time but never run for office before, won a seat in Tunis.
As per results announced in a televised statement by the electoral commission, Media mogul Nabil Karoui’s Heart of Tunisia party has got the second highest number of seats, 38. The social-democratic Attayar party of human rights activist Mohamed Abbou obtained 22 seats, while Seif Eddine Makhlouf’s Karama party got 21 seats. The Free Destourian Party of anti-Islamist Abir Mouss obtained 17 seats, with the female leader also elected Tunis MP.
The official preliminary results match the results of an exit poll published on Sunday which showed Ennahda as the largest party and Heart of Tunisia in second place in a fragmented parliament.
Karoui was released from jail earlier on Wednesday after the Court of Cassation dropped the detention order against him that led to his arrest. Up until now, Karoui had to campaign for the presidency through his wife and on television. He is also a candidate in Sunday’s presidential election, where he will face an independent, Kais Saied, who is backed by Ennahda. The winner on Sunday will be appointed for a five-year term.
Notably, the election in Tunisia was brought forward after the death of the country’s first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi in July.
The results are still subject to appeal.