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Ghannouchi abstains from running for third mandate

Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Al Ghannouchi attends the 4th congress of Nahda movement student branches at Tunisia University in Tunis, Tunisia on 18 January 2020. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]
Tunisian Parliament Speaker Rashid Al Ghannouchi attends the 4th congress of Nahda movement student branches at Tunisia University in Tunis, Tunisia on 18 January 2020. [Yassine Gaidi - Anadolu Agency]

Head of the Tunisian Ennahda Movement Rached Ghannouchi has announced that he respects the movement's internal law that prevents him from running for another mandate.

In an interview with Al-Jazeera on Tuesday, he stated: "It is my duty to respect the internal regulations of Ennahda, and I am doing so by respecting and adhering to Chapter 31 and all articles of the basic law."

Article 31 of Ennahda's internal regulations stipulates that no member of the party can assume the leadership of the movement for more than two consecutive terms, and that once they are elected president of the movement, they shall devote themselves to their duties.

In the middle of September, 100 leaders of the Ennahda Movement signed a petition addressed to Ghannouchi, demanding him to abstain from running for another mandate during the upcoming conference.

Ghannouchi responded by stating in a letter: "Politicians and leaders are superseded by election because the ruling duties they assume make them more susceptible to draining factors, but leaders are much more thick-skinned," according to local media.

On 12 July, 2012, Ennahda held the first public conference after years of work as a dormant cell, during which Ghannouchi was elected head of the movement for two consecutive terms from 2012 to 2020.

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Speaker of the Tunisian parliament Ghannouchi affirmed that the news circulated about disputes between him and President Saied are "just rumours".

He confirmed: "President Kais Saied is a symbol of state unity. He won the elections with the majority of votes and still has the people's trust."

Several months ago, local media circulated news of a dispute between Saied and Ghannouchi, following a call that the latter held last May with the Libyan Prime Minister Fayez Al-Sarraj. During the call, Ghannouchi congratulated Al-Sarraj on the army's victory over General Khalifa Haftar's forces and the liberation of Al-Watiya airbase, near the border with Tunisia.

Ghannouchi clarified in an interview with Anadolu Agency: "Tunisia and its president, Kais Saied, are in contact with Al-Sarraj's government as the sole sovereign body in the country according to international legitimacy. We have previously met with Aguila Saleh, the representative (president) of the Tobruk parliament as part of the stance of positive neutrality we took."

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