(Police hold back protesters demanding the inclusion of sharia Islamic Law in the constitution, in Tunis March 25, 2012. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi)

The moderate Islamist Ennahda party, which leads Tunisia’s government, will not back calls by conservatives to make Islamic law, or sharia, the main source of legislation in a new constitution, a senior party official said on Monday.

“Ennahda has decided to retain the first clause of the previous constitution without change,” Ameur Larayed told Radio Mosaique. “We want the unity of our people and we do not want divisions.” The party has not formally announced its final position.

A constituent assembly, elected in October, is hashing out a new constitution as part of Tunisia’s transition after popular protests ousted authoritarian leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali last year, sparking the Arab uprisings elsewhere.

Religious conservatives, including the third largest party in the constituent assembly, have called in recent weeks for the constitution to include sharia as the key source of legislation.