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Ghannouchi: Liberals in Egypt, Tunisia did not tolerate others in power

April 20, 2015 at 12:26 pm

Leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, Rashid Ghannouchi said that liberal parties in Egypt and Tunisia “did not accept having others in power, and they shouldn’t exclude them from participating”.

“When we, Islamists, assumed power in Tunisia, we did not exclude anyone and we accepted everyone, liberal and non-liberal, but those who ruled Tunisia before us, they dismissed Islamists and prevented them from political participation just like liberals in Egypt excluded Islamists,” Ghannouchi said in remarks to the Anadolu Agency yesterday on the sidelines of the fourth Tana Forum on Security in Africa in Bhardar, Ethiopia.

The Nidaa Tounis party won a majority of votes in Tunisia’s legislative elections in October last year with 86 seats of the 217 on offer while Ennahda came in second with 65 seats.

Ennahda won a majority of the seats after the 2011 revolution which overthrew President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali’s regime.

Ghannouchi called on liberal parties in his country to “accept others and not to deprive them from participation”.

“Citizenship is a right guaranteed to all without distinction and no one should be excluded, Islamist or liberal,” he added.

Ghannouchi pointed out that “Islamists like Boko Haram and the Al-Qaeda commit terrorist acts in the name of Islam out of an erroneous interpretation of the religion.”

“Differences between Islamists and liberals must be resolved through negotiations and dialogue,” stressing that “using violence is forbidden and has no basis in Islamic understanding.”

Remarking on the Egyptian affairs, Ghannouchi said: “The January 2011 revolution in Egypt resulted in democratic elections and a democratically elected president, President Mohamed Morsi who was removed from power.”

“Morsi is the only democratically elected president in the world who is in prison with his supporters,” he said.

The Tunisian scholar called for a comprehensive reconciliation in Egypt and to release Islamists from prison.