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Ennahda denies Ghannouchi’s nomination for Tunisia’s presidential elections

Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement [File photo]
Sheikh Rashid Ghannouchi, head of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement [File photo]

Ennahda spokesman, Emad Al-Khemiri, denied that Sheikh Rached Ghannouchi is the nominated candidate of the movement for the presidential elections expected in November. Al-Khemiri told Al-Mugtama Magazine on Monday evening that the sources which have circulated the rumours are accustomed to dropping similar bombs occasionally (meaning a breaking piece of news without conducting a background check), and letting it explode.

He added: “Yemina Zoghlami (a leader in Ennahda movement) stated that Ennahda’s most probable candidate is Ghannouchi. However, this statement does not necessarily mean that Ghannouchi and the institutions of the movement have already decided in this regard.”

Al-Khemiri explained that Ennahda’s institutions had not considered this option yet. He pointed out that the Shura Council in its last session did not address this issue at all, but instead called on the movement’s different departments to present a vision on how to run for the electoral race, at presidential and parliamentary levels, and submit the recommended plans to the party’s concerned bodies.

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During his interview with Al-Mugtama Magazine, the movement’s spokesman stressed that Ennahda would run for the presidential and parliamentary elections. However, until now, there is no final position on who will stand for the parliamentary elections and who will run for the presidential office. On the other hand, he confirmed that Ennahda’s presidential candidate will be either from inside or outside the party and that the decision will be taken within the frame of particular political understandings. As for the parliamentary elections, the movement’s bodies are still undergoing the process of determining the details and identifying illegible personalities to undertake such a task.

Regarding what has been attributed to Yemina Zoghlami, Al-Khemiri suggested that Zoghlami’s statement came in the context of validating the party’s basic law, which states that the Head of the party is the one who should run for office. However, both Gannouchi and the party’s institutions have not come to a final resolution.  As such, all kinds of options and possibilities are still available as long as the decision is not taken yet.

Some media sources reported Ennahda’s announcement, via the prominent party leader, Shura Council member and MP, Yemina Zoghlami, that its chairman is the movement’s candidate for the presidential elections scheduled for the end of this year. Accordingly, Zoghlami asserted that Ghannouchi has been nominated to run for office in accordance with the movement’s basic law.

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According to the same sources, Zoghlami added that Ghannouchi can re-consider his candidacy for personal reasons and that he has the right to name other personalities to run instead of him. However, Ennahda movement will work to choose the best candidate among the party’s members, according to the movement’s election mechanism. She also indicated that Ghannouchi was elected by thousands during Ennahda’s 10th Congress and that he consecrated all his time since the outbreak of the revolution to improve Tunisia’s image and boost national accord.

She stated that if Ghannouchi withdrew his candidacy for presidential elections, he should submit a list of nominees of his choice to the movement’s Shura Council to select the party’s presidential candidate among them.

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