Leader of Tunisia's Ennahda party steps down

Published December 12th, 2014 - 06:00 GMT

The secretary general of Tunisia’s Ennahda Islamic Movement has tendered his resignation as the leader of the country’s most prominent political party.  

Hamadi Jebali, a former prime minister, announced Thursday that he was stepping down from the party as he no longer agreed with its policies.

“I chose to be among those activists eager to ensure the peaceful revolution triumphed.... I have great difficulty in remaining faithful to this position given the state of Ennahda today. I find myself no longer agreeing with its choices,” Jebali wrote on his Facebook page.

He also warned that Tunisia risks a return to “tyranny and corruption.”

The developments come weeks after Ennahda was defeated by the Nidaa Tounes party in recent general elections. Ennahda has decided not to field a candidate in the presidential election, whose second round is set for December 21.

Nidaa Tounes is famous for presence of remnants of the former doctorial regime in its ranks. However, Ennahda has not ruled out cooperating with Nidaa Tounes on future political affairs.

Ennahda’s stance has caused a rift among some members of the party who were repressed under the regime of former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Jebali became prime minister in December 2011 after the country’s first free elections in decades.

He quit during the political crisis that followed the murder of a prominent leftwing opposition leader in 2013. The crisis began after leftist opposition leader, Shokri Belaid, was fatally shot outside his home in the capital, Tunis, on February 6, 2013.

Belaid’s assassination triggered violent demonstrations across the country, with the headquarters of the ruling Ennahda party being attacked in more than a dozen cities.

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