Almost four years after mass protests swept from power the autocratic regime of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians turned out in force to cast their vote in last weekend’s historic elections. The results confirmed a trajectory away from political Islam, with the secular Nidaa Tounes party gaining more seats in the new parliament than second placed Ennahda, the Islamist party that had won the previous election.

Ennahda conceded defeat a day after polling stations closed on Sunday, and it is now for Nidaa Tounes to form a government. Its leader Beji Caid Essebsi has ruled out a coalition with Ennahda, which he has repeatedly attacked over its failure to revive the country’s ailing economy. A narrower liberal coalition looks more likely. (CONTINUED - 648 WORDS)