Tunisian secular party concedes election defeat

PDP leader Maya Jribi said, "The trend is clear. The PDP is badly placed. It is the decision of the Tunisian people."

Tunis: The leader of Tunisia`s centre-left
PDP party, tipped in second place ahead of the country`s first
free elections, conceded defeat on Monday as votes were being
counted.

"The trend is clear. The PDP is badly placed. It is the
decision of the Tunisian people. I bow before their choice,"
PDP leader Maya Jribi said at party headquarters as the
Islamist Ennahda party claimed to be in the lead.

Jribi, the only woman to have led a political party in
yesterday`s elections for an assembly tasked with rewriting
the constitution and appointing a caretaker government,
congratulated "those who obtained the approval of the Tunisian
people".

"We will be there to defend a modern, prosperous and
moderate Tunisia," she said, adding the PDP would "clearly be
in opposition".
"It is a majority that governs, a minority that opposes,"
she said.

Ennahda earlier said it expected to capture about 40
percent of the vote.

"We are not far from 40 per cent. It could be a bit more
or a bit less, but we are sure to take 24 (of the 27) voting
districts," Samir Dilou, a member of Ennahda`s political
bureau told AFP, quoting "our sources".

Analysts widely predicted Ennahda to win the most votes
but fall short of a majority on the 217-member constituent
assembly.

The body will decide on the country`s system of government
and how to guarantee basic liberties, including women`s
rights, which many fear Ennahda would seek to diminish despite
its assurances to the contrary.

It will also have interim authority to write laws and pass
budgets.

Ennahda says it models itself on the ruling AKP party in
Turkey, another Muslim-majority country which like Tunisia to
date has a secular state.

PTI

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