Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Why a Secular and Islamist Coalition Makes Sense

As coalition governments go, this could be one of the more interesting pairings, I’ve ever seen. Two secular parties are joining with an Islamist party to form a coalition government that will guide Tunisia following the uprising that began the Arab Spring. But can a mixed secular-Islamic party government work?

At first blush, the coalition sounded like an absolute car crash waiting to happen. However, upon further thought, it might not be the world’s worst idea. The guiding thought behind coalition government is to provide representation to the greatest number of people. By producing a coalition, you can represent both Islamic and secular interests while hopefully keeping dissent down.

The whole revolution occurred in the first place because the rulers were not responsive to Tunisians. It would be a dangerous mistake to then impose a heavily centralized majoritarian system on a recently freed people. While the coalition may seem unorthodox or dangerous to the outsider, I think that we should give the people of Tunisia some leeway here. No one knows the on the ground reality better than them.

 It is perhaps the best trust of a new democracy to let them succeed or fail on their own.

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