THE country where the Arab spring began is poised to complete a momentous transition from dictatorship to democracy when voters go to the polls on October 26th. The vote should seal Tunisia’s title as the sole success of the region’s uprising. But despite the historic moment, splits between Islamists and secularists, sporadic clashes with jihadists and exuberant participation—more than 100 parties are jostling for places in the National Assembly—political tempers are cool.
One reason is that this country of 11m is more orderly than most, and very much more so than its turbulent Arab neighbours. Among strict rules enforced by an independent election commission is a ban on election posters except in numbered, equal-sized boxes at municipally decreed sites. Such sobriety also reflects the fact that, after three years of post-revolutionary turmoil, many Tunisians say they are fed up with politics. But perhaps a more important reason for the calm is that the outcome is fairly predictable. No party is likely to win outright. Tunisia’s next government will almost certainly be a coalition, pursuing a middle-of-the-road reformist policy based on a national consensus.
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