Arab States Weekly Review 22nd – 28th October 2011

Nahda, the main Islamist party in Tunisia which was banned under the old regime of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, won at least 41% of the seats with at least 25% of the vote in an election for a consituent assembly. Led by Rachid Ghannouchi, Nahda says it is willing to form a ruling coalition with its secular rivals. The new assembly will appoint a government and draft a constitution.

Following the death and capture of Muammar Qaddafi, Libya’s new rulers said a new government would be appointed within a month and elections to an assembly would be held within eight months.

The passing of Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdel Aziz, heir to the Saudi throne and half-brother to King Abdullah, raised questions about the Saudi succession. The next in line to the throne is likely to be Prince Sultan’s brother, Prince Nayef, the interior minister, who is considered a staunch conservative.

Protesters in Homs, Hama and various parts of Damascus held a general strike. Supporters of President Assad rallied in his favour in Damascus. Officials of the Arab League met Mr. Assad in an effort to negotiate an end to the unrest that has rocked Syria since March.

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