5. Tunisia’s Muslim religious party, Ennahda, has pledged to retain the secular character of the Tunisian constitution. Leader Rashid Ghanoushi says that the party won’t try to make sharia or Islamic canon law the basis for the new constitution. Ghanoushi has praised the “Turkish model,” which his followers maintain developed under Ghanoushi’s own influence over the Turkish Justice and Development Party. Ennahda only has 42 percent of the seats in parliament, and needs secular parties to rule the country.
4. Egyptian workers have taken advantage of the loosening of laws on union formation to establish hundreds of new unions and to launch strikes for a better deal. Egypt’s economy is expect to grow 1.4 percent this year, and 4 percent next year. But the question for the union movement is how that growth will be distributed, to Egypt’s 1% or to its 99 percent?
3. Egyptian secularists and democrats are worried about the decision of the Muslim Brotherhood to put Khairat Shater up to run for president. The Brotherhood has a majority in the lower house, and observers worry that if it gains the presidency as well, that development would allow the emergence of a one-party state. The Brotherhood had earlier pledged not to run anyone for president
2. Bahrain protesters fought Bahrain police on Monday, destroying two police vehicles. The Shiite majority in the island Gulf nation wants a constitutional monarchy.
1. Despite Syrian government pledges to accept a UN-brokered cease-fire, the Baath regime launched further repressive raids on dissident city quarters. In the southern town of Dael, the tanks destroyed some 15 dwellings in the course of attempting to crush the uprising there. The Syrian army also killed 10 persons in its continuing assault in Homs.