Consensus vital to Tunisia's stability: Ghannouchi

TUNIS – Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's Islamist Ennahda movement, said the country's stability depended on consensus between Islamists and members of the Constitutional Democratic Rally party, which ruled the country before a 2011 popular uprising.

"This consensus would pave the way for deeper national unity between the country's main political camps," Ghannouchi said in an interview with the Anadolu Agency.

"Tunisia's development and stability must be based on consensus between the two currents, which would eliminate extremism – be it in the name of Islam or modernity," he added.

Ghannouchi said his group had opted to participate in the new government of Prime Minister Habib Essid to avert a political stalemate similar to that which followed the assassinations in 2013 of leftist politicians Choukri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi.

"Ennahda decided to participate in the government – with limited representation – in order to facilitate consensus," he said.

Tunisia's parliament on Thursday voted to give confidence to Essid's new government, which includes 27 cabinet ministers.

On Monday, Essid unveiled his new cabinet lineup, which included one member of the Islamist Ennahda movement.

The new government also contains 15 deputy ministers, including Ennahda spokesman Ziyad al-Azari, who was given the labor portfolio. 

Three deputy ministerial posts also went to Ennahda members.

In Tunisia's 217-seat parliament, Essid's secular Nidaa Tounes party – from which recently-elected President Beji Caid Essebsi hails – holds 86 seats. Ennahda, meanwhile, holds 69.

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