Leader Says Ennahdha to Steer Clear of Presidential Race

By Robert Joyce | Feb 27 2014 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

Tags: Elections ,Ennahdha ,presidential race ,second-natonal-featured
Rached Ghannouchi at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. Image credit: Ghannouchi's Facebook page

Rached Ghannouchi at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC, February 26, 2014. Image credit: Ghannouchi’s Facebook page

Ennahdha party leader Rached Ghannouchi said that he does not expect his party to field a candidate in the upcoming elections, according to an account of his remarks made Wednesday in the United States.

I do not expect Ennahdha to present a candidate for presidential elections, the Islamist leader said, according to Radio Sawa.

Yusra Ghannouchi, Ennahdha spokesperson and daughter of the party leader said in an email, at the moment such a candidacy is not expected, but the official final decision has not been made.

On its Twitter account, Ennahdha said it is most likely the party will not field a candidate, but added that a definitive call has yet to be made.

Even after upcoming elections, Ghannouchi said, a majority victory will not be enough for any party to govern Tunisia.

During transitional periods, a 51 percent majority is not sufficient to have a stable government and a stable democracy, he said. We believe that the country will need a coalition government that brings together the main parties in the country.

Ghannouchi also seemed to rule out his own candidacy.

I will not add another employee to Tunisia because we have enough [government] employees, he said at a separate Washington event, according to the Al Monitor news website.

Ghannouchi's remarks were made during a trip to the United States in which the Islamist leader visited a number of U.S. think tanks. His speeches focused on Tunisia's constitutional drafting process, completed with a 200-12 vote in late January on the completed charter.

Our constitution represents the dream of the great reformers of the 19th century, who tried to combine the values of Islam and the values of modernity, and who believed that Islam and the universal values and Islam and democracy are compatible, Ghannouchi said at the Washington DC-based Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, according to a transcript on Ennahdha's Facebook page.

Ghannouchi, accompanied by Ennahdha National Constituent Assembly members Amel Azzouz and Zied Laadhari, defended the party's decision to step down from government earlier this month.

We are not angels. We would like to have power, but we believe having a democratic constitution for Tunisians is more important, he said at the U.S. Institute for Peace, a Washington D.C. think tank, according to their website.

Ghannouchi's remarks repeatedly celebrated the Tunisian experience as proving the possibility of coexistence between Islam and democracy. Still, he discussed Tunisia's dragging economy and security challenges. Al Monitor quoted him as saying, one flower does not make a spring.

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    Ennahdha is afraid to field a candidate because Ghannouchi and his daughters know exactly what most people think of them and their party.

  1. Actually, I think it is a smart decision for EnNahdha not to field any candidate for the next presidential elections. For one, there are many would-be candidates that are very acceptable and even desirable for the islamist party. Then, it is probably best for EnNahdha to work on winning the local municipal elections, and keeping its majority in the parliament, where it can exercise effective control on the government, and even claim the “opposition” title!!

  2. The status quo of a president in the new Tunisia is just as meaningless as a smelly duckling’s fart for a farmer. Filling the gap somewhere else where governmental power plays an essential role does make more sense.