Islamist-inspired party head hits the streets in Tunisia elections
Rached Ghannouchi, longstanding head of Tunisia’s Islamist-inspired Ennahdha, has taken to the streets in his first legislative election campaign in the wake of disappointing results for the party in a presidential poll.
At 78, Ghannouchi has led Ennahdha since it was founded almost 40 years ago, carrying the movement to victory in 2011 elections, just months after the party reemerged from underground following the revolution that ousted autocrat Zine Al Abidine Ben Ali.
A divisive figure, Ghannouchi who has never run for office is standing for the first time in the October 6 legislative elections.
It was Abdelfattah Mourou — a lawyer seen as a moderate — who was the party’s first presidential candidate, leading to his elimination in a first round of polling on September 15.
Turning up in a black luxury sedan to campaign in the streets of Bab Jdid, a popular neighbourhood of Tunis, Ghannouchi, wearing a simple button-down shirt, shook hands and spoke to constituents.
But three weeks after the presidential poll saw voters reject the governing parties, including Ennahdha, the welcome was lukewarm in the streets. Called “sheikh” out of respect by followers, Ghannouchi also faced jeers.
“We voted for them [Ennahdha] but today we are living on bread and water, that dog Ghannouchi!” said one resident, Fatima Kassraoui.
“Our sons found neither work nor hope here, so they’ve left secretly [for Europe] and they’ve disappeared. It’s because of him,” said the veiled woman in her fifties.
Source: Jordan Times