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The insistence on the part of some officials in the United States, Europe and the Arab world, as well as Middle Eastern and foreign policy "experts" in Washington and elsewhere, that the Tunisian secular and centrist party Nidaa Tounes should form a coalition with the Islamist Ennahda party is unwarranted. Nidaa Tounes, alongside other liberal and progressive parties, just defeated Ennahda in parliamentary elections, and its leader is expected to win the presidential election this month. External pressure to form a coalition government that includes the Islamists is inconsiderate of the Tunisians' will.Insisting on a phony secular-Islamist divide of Tunisian society that needs reconciliation and a coalition government to transcend differences can only be perceived as promoting the Islamists' interest in remaining on the political stage and aiming to protect its leaders.Such a coalition would be best placed to devise an inclusive and equitable economic growth model, and rally domestic public support, particularly from powerful unions and among working people, the poor and other disadvantaged Tunisians.The Islamists of Ennahda have different options to show that they are serious about respecting democratic rules and the will of the people expressed in elections, and about solving security and socio-economic problems for the benefit of all.
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