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Islamic commitment "does not threaten democracy"

The political adviser to the Tunisian Prime Minister has stressed that the strategy of the government is to support all political work within the country's legal framework. Lotfi Zitoun pointed out that the recognition of parties with a strict Salafi background falls within this framework.

In an exclusive statement to Quds Press, Zitoun commented on the decision to give official recognition to the Salvation Front, which promotes Salafi ideas. He explained that the government is not afraid of the impact of religion on politics: "Religiosity in Tunisia does not constitute a threat to democracy and politics at all," he said. "We, in the government, will recognise each political party which responds to the laws governing such groups.

Any other party that is responsive to political party law and applies for permission will also be recognised. This applies to everyone without distinction, whether a Salafi party or Freedom party; we encourage every citizen to engage in legal party work."

On the other hand, Zitoun confirmed that the government alliance monitors the conflicts within the Congress for the Republic, one of the alliance partners. However, he said that what is happening between the alliance parties is a domestic matter.

"On the party level, the chairman of the Renaissance Movement, Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, talked to the senior leader in the Congress for the Republic, Abdul Raouf Al-Ayadi, and urged him to reach an understanding with everyone, as the Renaissance is keen that the Congress party is united and strong."

With regards to the ongoing debate on reform of the media, Zitoun denied that the government intends to dominate the media, saying, "There is a belief among the various political parties in Tunisia that the media industry failed to keep pace with the political developments taking place in the country. We are keen for the media to keep pace with such developments and cover the political events as they are." The government has no intention whatsoever of dominating or controlling the media, he added.

The founder of the Salafi Reform Front in Tunisia, Mohammed Khoja, has announced that the government has granted him permission to be politically active at the helm of the first licensed Salafi party in the country.

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