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Exiled Islamist party leader set to return to Tunisia

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-01-24

Exiled opposition leader Rached Ghannouchi told FRANCE 24 on Monday that he was looking forward to returning to Tunisia after spending 20 years in exile in London.

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia’s Islamic party Ennahda, said Monday in an interview with FRANCE 24 that he was hoping to return to Tunisia in the coming days after spending 20 years in exile in London.

The Islamist movement in Tunisia was one of the most repressed opposition movements under ousted president Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who fled the country earlier this month.
 
Members were jailed or sent into exile, and the party was banned from politics. In a recent wave of protests leading to Ben Ali’s downfall, the Islamist movement did not play a visible role. But after Ben Ali left power, Tunisia's interim government granted amnesty to all political prisoners and allowed banned parties, including Ennahda, to return to the political scene.
 
Ghannouchi said he would step down as Ennahda’s party leader to pave the way for “a younger and more qualified generation” to lead the movement. Ghannouchi clearly stated that he did not want to be part of the new Tunisian government. “It is not my plan to take up any government post, but we will keep up political pressure until full democratic change is attained.”
 
For Ghannouchi, the current interim government is “an extension of Ben Ali’s fallen regime. Most of the old figures still remain in the interim government,” he said.
 
Ennahda’s chief said his movement favoured creating a special assembly that would draw up a constitution for a truly democratic new regime.
 
If the constitution does not change, a new dictator will once again take over in Tunisia, he said.

 

Date created : 2011-01-24

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