Election workers count ballots in Tunisia 311 (R).
(photo credit: REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi)
Jacob Lellouche, the only Jew who ran in the Tunisian elections, claimed victory
on Tuesday despite failing to win a seat in parliament.
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owner turned politician said he achieved his goal by showing his countrymen that
non-Muslims can take part in the nation’s first democratic elections.
succeeded because now the people know you can come from a minority and still be
involved in politics,” he said over the phone from Tunis. “I accomplished my
Lellouche said the Union, Popular and Republican Party that
placed him second on its list of candidates did not come close to entering
parliament, according to unofficial reports. Still, he has not given up on
being elected to public office.
“I think there are a lot of elections in
front of us, such as for the municipality,” he said. “The play is
Lellouche said he wasn’t concerned over the expected victory of
the Islamist Ennahda party. The future of the country “is not all black or
white, but also has a lot of grey.”
But the president of Tunisia’s Jewish
community on Tuesday expressed concern over the expected Ennahda
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
“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,” Bismuth said. “If you follow their promises during the campaign,
nothing will happen, because they said they wouldn’t be extreme and would support
human rights, but you never know.”
Ennahda, which was widely expected to
become the largest faction in parliament, was banned by the previous regime and
espouses a moderate form of Islam similar to Turkey’s ruling Justice and
Bismuth said the nature of the coalition that the
party is expected to form will be crucial in guiding the political path in which
it decides to steer the country of some 11 million people.