The head of Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamist movement, Rachid Ghannouchi, will step down and be replaced this year, he told Turkey’s state-run news agency in an interview published on Friday. Ghannouchi, a respected Muslim scholar who has spoken in favour of women’s rights and democracy, returned to Tunisia from two decades in exile following last month’s overthrow of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.
Rachid Ghannouchi, the head of Tunisia’s main Islamist Ennahda movement returns on Sunday to the country from which he was exiled 22 years ago.
(Photo: Sheikh Rachid Ghannouchi (C, with red scarf) is welcomed by supporters upon his arrival in Tunis January 30, 2011/Louafi Larbi)
(Photo: Shadows of protesters on the Tunisian flag, in Tunis January 15, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
For years they were jailed or exiled. They were excluded from elections, banned from politics, and played no visible role in Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution. But in the brave new world of multi-party politics, moderate Islamists could attract more followers than their secular rivals like to admit.
(Photo: Protesters in Tunis January 14, 2011/Zohra Bensemra)
The leader of a banned Tunisian Islamist movement has said he would return in the next few days from exile in London after Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, who ran the country for 23 years, was forced out.