Tunisian Jewish leader worries over Islamist party victory
By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
October 25, 2011 18:02
The president of Tunisia’s Jewish community on Tuesday expressed concern over the expected triumph of the Islamist Ennahda party in the first democratically held elections in the country.
Roger Bismuth, who heads the organization representing the country’s 1,500 Jews, said shortly before the results were announced that he was monitoring the situation closely.
“If Ennahda is going to win a majority of the seats in parliament it is a problem because then you replace one dictatorship with another,” he said. “If you follow their promises during the campaign nothing will happen because they said they wouldn’t be extreme and support human rights, but you never know.”
Ennahda, which was widely expected to become the largest faction in parliament, is a political movement that was banned by the previous regime and espouses a moderate form of Islam similar to Turkey’s Justice and Development Party.
Bismuth said the coalition that the party is expected to form will be crucial in telling the political path in which it decides to steer the country.