Tunisia, the first country to rise up in the so-called Arab Spring, may also become the region’s first new democracy to vote an Islamist party into power. Ennahdha, an Islamic party legalized only six months ago, is the front-runner in the Oct. 23 vote to choose an assembly to write a new constitution, according to an OpinionWay poll released just before a pre-election polling ban took effect on Oct. 1. The party says it won’t impose its views on what is now the most secular country in the region.
Tunisia’s election has the potential to set an example for post-revolutionary countries such as Egypt and Libya, and for monarchies Morocco and Jordan as they allow more democracy. For Ennahdha, it’s a test of whether Arab Islamic movements can follow Turkey’s ruling AKP party in marrying Islam and democracy while attracting foreign investment.
“A big win for the Islamists could scare some investors away,” said Slim Feriani, London-based chief executive officer of Advance Emerging Capital Ltd., which manages $750 million in frontier and developing-nation stocks. “The best result for markets would be if you don’t get a single party dominating.”
Tunisian stocks have outperformed this year. The benchmark TUNINDEX is down 9.5 percent, compared with 17.4 percent for the MSCI Emu (MXEM) Index of leading European stocks.
Full Article: Islamists Lead Polls Before Tunisian Election – Bloomberg.