Islamists back parliamentary push in Tunisia
on 16/07/2012 08:02:07
Ennahda holds the largest number of seats in the Constitutional Assembly and so is best placed to determine the future governing system in this North African country of 10 million.
The president of the party congress, Abdellatif Mekki, said at a press conference that delegates had chosen a moderate, centrist approach for the party that would avoid extremist positions.
The party would attempt to "restore balance between the role of the state and that of civil society to avoid the total control of the state as was the case before", he said.
Tunisians overthrew their long-ruling leader in January 2011 in a country that has been dominated by a strong presidency since its independence from France in 1956.
Ennahda was brutally repressed by the old regime and this is the first time its party congress has been held in public.
After the uprising, the party successfully revived its old network across the country and dominated the October elections for an assembly to write the new constitution.
Leftist and liberal opposition parties have said they would prefer the new constitution set forward a presidential system.
Mohammed Fourati, a party official, told journalists that Ennahda was looking to expand its current ruling coalition with two other secular parties to include other members of the opposition.
Ennahda has been at pains to calm fears by secular Tunisians that it seeks to create an Islamic state.
Delegates at the congress agreed to preserve all achievements of women enshrined in Tunisia's groundbreaking personal status code, considered the most progressive in the region.