Tunisia’s El Nahda Movement legalized after 20 year ban
The Tunisian Islamist movement El Nahda, which had been formerly banned under the ousted Dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, has finally been legalized allowing the movement to form a political party and participate in the elections.
The movement which was founded in 1981 was inspired by Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood and on January 20 its leader Rashid Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia following a 20 year exile living mostly in London. According to sources the new government has prepared an amnesty law for convicted activists like Ghannouchi, but it still needs to be voted on in the parliament.
While the El Nahda was initially tolerated by Ben Ali’s rule it faced a fierce crackdown after being placed second to Ben Ali’s ruling party during the1989 elections. Tunisia’s interim government has promised to hold new elections by mid-July.