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‘Ennahda will contest this year’s presidential elections,’ says Ghannouchi

Leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi [File photo]
Leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda movement, Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi [File photo]

The leader of Tunisia’s Ennahda Party has said that the movement will participate in this year’s presidential elections, Anadolu has reported. Rached Ghannouchi insisted, though, that he is not running for office.

Ghannouchi made his comment during a lecture on Saturday at the Centre for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies in Tunis. His talk was on the topic of The Path of the Revolution after Eight Years: Vision and Outlook.

According to the veteran politician, Ennahda has not yet decided on how it will participate in the election. It could either stand a member as a candidate for the presidency or give its backing to someone else from outside the movement. “This is what happened in 2014, when Ennahda was neutral and fought in others’ battles,” he pointed out.

Ennahda in the largest party in parliament, with 68 seats out of 217. “Democracy can be affected when the largest party in the country does not participate in the elections,” Ghannouchi explained. “Furthermore, the elections must be held on time, as a constitutional and legal entitlement, in addition to presenting Tunisia at its best to the world. The democratic transition is a trump card in favour of Tunisia and we should not lose such a privilege.”

On another issue, Ghannouchi denied allegations that Ennahda maintained a “secret security apparatus” which was involved in the assassinations of left-wing lawyers Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi in 2013. Such allegations, he insisted, are “politically motivated.”

READ: Partisan, electoral and governmental perspectives in Tunisia 

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