Fears Over Tunisia’s Islamist Party Overblown

There are reports that the once-banned Tunisian Islamist party, Hizb Ennahda, has emerged as the country's most powerful political force ahead of July elections for the transitional national assembly that will be tasked with reforming the Tunisian constitution.

Close observers of Tunisia, however, say the country's post-authoritarian political space is still in its early stages. So while an Ennahda victory may be likely, it would not necessarily signal a full-blown Islamic takeover of the government.

"I think fears about Ennahda have been ramped up substantially more than they need to be," says Christopher Alexander, a political scientist at Davidson College in North Carolina and author of "Tunisia: Stability and Reform in the Modern Maghreb."

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