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This week, with its second parliamentary election, Tunisia passed Huntington's test.Tunisia's relative success is in marked contrast to the abysmal failure of Egypt, the Arab world's largest and once most influential country.Why did Tunisia succeed where Egypt failed? Analysts of the two countries have offered lots of answers, but the most common is that Tunisia's Islamists were just better than Egypt's. But Tarek Masoud, author of a fascinating new book on Islamists and elections titled "Counting Islam," suggests that Tunisia's success and Egypt's failure have less to do with the qualities of its Islamists than with deep differences in those countries' political environments. Tunisia was a different story, Masoud says. More developed, more urban, more literate and more globalized than Egypt, Tunisia had a more diverse civil society than Egypt's – stronger labor unions, civic associations, professional groups – and so there was relative parity between Islamists and their opponents. Though Islamists did well in Tunisia's first elections, so did non-Islamists.
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