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Tunisia: Abdelfattah Mourou, candidate of the Islamist party Ennahda in the presidential election
Abdelfattah Mourou, candidate of the Ennahdha party at the presidential election, in Tunis, July 25, 2019. FETHI BELAID / AFP

In Tunisia, the Islamist-inspired party Ennahda, the main force in parliament, presented on Wednesday, August 7, a presidential candidate in early September – a first in the world. The story of this training. The announcement of the candidacy of Abdelfattah Mourou was made in a terse statement from the party, which is scheduled to hold a press conference in the afternoon.

In 2011, nine months after the revolution that ousted President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali and put the country on the road to democracy, Ennahda won the legislative, first post-revolutionary vote. But "It's the first time in its history that the movement is presenting a presidential candidate."AFN spokesman Imed Khmiri told AFP. "The party's advisory board voted 98 votes in favor of Abdelfattah Mourou's candidacy for the presidential election."said Ennahda in his statement.

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Abdelfattah Mourou, 71, is one of the founding members of Ennahda, next to Rached Ghannouchi, in 1981. Known for his moderation, he is head of the Parliament by interest since his predecessor, Mohamed Ennaceur, became head of the state after the death of President Béji Caïd Essebsi on 25 July. 92 years old.

King's maker

Before the electoral calendar overturned, Ennahda was reluctant to introduce his own presidential candidate, for whom he wanted to play the kingmakers, and was betting on a legislative successes, originally planned before the presidential election. But the first round of the presidential election has been advanced to September 15 and the laws are expected on October 6.

The presidential candidates began to cast their candidacy on August 2. On Tuesday, 27 defendants had already submitted their cases to the seat of the Independent Elections Commission (ISIE). Among them, the businessman and media magnate Nabil Karoui. Charged with money laundering, he stands as the candidate of the most disaffected. Mr. Karoui is a big opponent for the Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, Tahya Tounes party candidate. Abir Moussi, pasionaria of the former regime of Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali, is also in the running. It includes, among others, the exclusion of Islamists, including those of Ennahda.

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Also featured are Hamadi Jebali, formerly number two of Ennahda, who is standing as an independant, and Moncef Marzouki, elected in 2011 by the first parliament speaker after the re-election. Â € œToday, there is a true democracy and the people can choose freelyâ €said Mr. Marzouki. Another notable candidate on Wednesday was defense minister Abdelkarim Zbidi, who stepped down before making his candidacy.

Candidates have until August 9 to file their application. On August 31, the ISIE will announce the list of those it has selected and the campaign will run from September 2 to 13. Preliminary results will be announced on September 17th. The date of the second round has not been decided, but it should be held before November 3, according to the ISIE. For the legislature of October, Rached Ghannouchi is head of list in the constituency of Tunis.

"Rare bird"

Ennahda remains marked by his first experience in power, when he found himself stuck in crises and faced with strong political opposition, after winning the leagues. In 2011, he was replaced by a cabinet of technocrats at the beginning of 2014. Since he has taken a step back, the party has become more polite in its image, insisting on To be described as a party "Muslim Democrat" and no  "Islamist ». As such, he said to continue its transformation ⠀ "announced in 2016 ⠀" in force  "civil », excluding any activity of religious preaching.

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In May, Rached Ghannouchi had not ruled out presenting "A member of Ennahda" In the presidential, while adding that "The most important" Was to find "A consensus candidate". "This rare bird, we have not found it yet"said Ghannouchi, whose party won the majority of town halls in the 2018 local elections.

Cradle of the Arab Spring, Tunisia is the only country affected by the challenges to continue on the path of democratization, despite political turmoil, economic moroseness and jihadist attacks.

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