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Ghannouchi rejects foreign intervention in Tunisia crisis

Ennahda leader rejects intervention of 'foreign armies' in Tunisia crisis
2 min read
22 January, 2023
Tunisia's former parliament speaker and leader of its main opposition party has warned that the country could be slipping further into danger because of the political crisis.
Ghannouchi has repeatedly attacked Saied since his power grab in July 2021 [Getty/archive]

The leader of Tunisia's Ennahda party has refused any foreign intervention in the country’s political crisis, saying Tunisia does not need "foreign armies" to help it restore democracy.

"We do not wait for foreign armies to come to support democracy in Tunisia. The people of Tunisia are the ones who brought democracy and they are the ones who will restore it, God willing," Rached Ghannouchi told local television station Zitouna in an interview broadcast on Saturday evening.

He stressed the need for a consensus in the North African country.

"We must realise that democracy and freedom are the path to prosperity, so let us accept the equation of coexistence between us without exclusion, and then the Tunisian revolution will have a future and Tunisia will regain its radiant position in the world," Ghannouchi said.

"We are in danger. The country is on a path of accelerating danger, so all wise men of Tunisia must take a serious stance, realising that we are going through a difficult democratic transition, and Tunisians must regain confidence in themselves," he added.

He said Ennahda did not veto anyone opposed to the 2014 constitution, which President Kais Saied overturned last year with a new but controversial constitution which gives him sweeping powers.

Critics say this was one of many measures taken by Saied since his 2021 "coup" to consolidate one-man rule.

Ghannouchi has repeatedly criticised Saied's July 2021 power grab, during which the president sacked the Ennahda-supported government and seized full executive authority.

The former speaker and leader of the Islamist-inspired Ennahda has been embroiled in a money-laundering case along with other party members, as well as a separate case where they are accused of the "shipment of jihadists" to conflict zones such as Syria.

Former prime minister and senior member of Ennahda, Ali Laarayedh, was sentenced to prison last month in the second case.

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Ennahda denies all the charges and accuses Saied of trying to crack down on all opposition since his "coup".

Tunisia is currently reeling under a worsening financial and economic crisis, in which many Tunisians are faced with spiralling inflation and shortages.

It has pushed many to desperation, with forced hundreds attempting the dangerous sea voyage across the Mediterranean in hopes of reaching Europe.