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Ennahda's Islamists are 'not Tunisia's Talibans'

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Ennahda's Islamists are 'not Tunisia's Talibans'


The Islamist party emerging as Tunisia’s most powerful political force after Sunday’s election has made more moves to reassure sceptics.

Ennahda’s leader Rachid Ghannouchi has met stock exchange executives to send the message that the new government will be business-friendly.

The party’s number two, its Secretary General Hamadi Jebali, has been named as its official candidate to be prime minister. He is a long-term opponent of ex-president Ben Ali and spent 16 years in jail under the old regime.

The electoral commission has still given no indication of when the final results of the election will be published.

The secular leftist nationalist party, in second place after partial results, is in talks over forming a possible coalition. Its leader Moncef Marzouki says Ennahda’s Islamists “are not the devil” and should not be taken for “Tunisia’s Talibans”.

Ennahda says it intends to form an administration within a month, calling for a national alliance leading to a democratic government.

The Islamist party is also seeking to reassure tourists, saying there are no plans to tell them how to dress on beaches. Hamadi Jebali said forbidding wine or imposing restrictions on bathing costumes would make no sense.

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