Tunisian Jews May Vote for Islamists, Says Prominent Community Member

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People queue to cast their ballot at a polling station in Tunis, October 23, 2011. Credit: Reuters

More than 80 percent of Tunisian Jews who are eligible to vote have registered to do so and some may choose an Islamist party, a well-known member of the community said.

Rene Trabelsi, a businessman and son of a leader of Tunisia’s Jewish community of 2,500 people, made the assertion in an interview published earlier this week by the Anadolu news agency ahead of the country’s October 26 parliamentary elections and the presidential race next month.

“There are no objections to selecting a political party with an Islamic background, such as Ennahda,” Trabelsi said in reference to Tunisia’s former ruling party, which stepped down last year as a temporary government proceeded to draft a new constitution ahead of the vote.

“Regardless of ideological or religious considerations, we will support the party that presents a suitable economic program,” added Trabelsi, who according to some reports recently turned down an offer to become the country’s tourism minister. He noted that many Tunisian Jews had voted for Ennahda in the 2011 elections.

The 2011 elections followed the ousting from power of former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in a revolution that triggered several other upheavals throughout the Arab-speaking world.

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