But Mohamed Bennour, a spokesman for Ettakatol, said by phone on Monday that there was not yet a decision about whether to join Ennahda. “We won't make any decision until we have the results,” he said today. And on Thursday, he suggested another coalition, with fellow secularists: the Party for Democratic Progress (PDP) and the Modern Democratic Pole.
Ettakatol is an unlikely kingmaker in what has been a complicated election so far. More than 100 political parties formed after a Jan. 14 revolution that ousted former President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. Ennahda dominated the so-called Islamist right with sophisticated organization and broad membership. A plethora of smaller parties and independent candidates have split the secular middle and left. Results are expected Tuesday.
Yet now, just a day after millions of Tunisians went to the polls, it may decide the ruling majority in the coming stage of Tunisia's democratic transition. Ennahda is unlikely to be able to lure any other secular parties into its camp. Nor could the secularists form a majority coalition without Ettakatol on board.
As Ettakatol considers its options, weighing in Ennahda's favor is the lure of simplicity. If the two parties joined forces, they would require very few other parties to gain the majority. By contrast, a coalition of secular parties would likely include a handful of parties all of a similar size and each with their own leadership, raising the possibility of gridlock and internal conflict. Ennahda and Ettakatol have also maintained contact throughout the campaign, according to members of Ennahda and independent candidates who declined to be named for the political sensitivity of the ongoing negotiations.