Western Post-Election Influence in Tunisia

“International Actors Compete for Influence in Tunisia,” by Abdullah Ayasun, for Today’s Zaman:

The different ways of reporting reflects the approaches of the countries as experts have suggested that France did not want to see Ennahda in power. The Americans took a pragmatic approach and acknowledged the facts in Tunisia by adapting itself to situation and began to support Ennahda.

The French media presented Ennahda as a fundamentalist Islamist organization that is not incompatible of democracy, while the US media presented the party as a pro-democrat and moderate movement that has capacity to bring democracy to Tunisia, experts told Sunday’s Zaman. Hasan Kösebalaban, a professor of international relations at İstanbul Şehir University and Ufuk Ulutaş, an analyst for the Foundation for Political, Economic and Social Research (SETA) noted that the US wants to increase its economic investments in Tunisia as France holds most of foreign investment. In order to achieve that goal, according to experts, the US wants to improve its ties with Ennahda and therefore supported the organization during the elections…

On the other hand, according to Kösebalaban, [a professor of International Relations at Istanbul Sehir University], France will continue to vie to play an important role in the country through the EU by implementing economic projects.

Kösebalaban thinks that the elections will probably bring an end to France’s domination of the Tunisian economy as Ennahda has already made it clear that its new economic and foreign policy will eliminate any kind of dependency on a single country as was the case in the past when Bin Ali favored France in most cases, which won most of the tenders in the country…

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