Islamists to emerge victorious: Ennahda

Islamists to emerge victorious: Ennahda

LONDON - Reuters
Islamists to emerge victorious: Ennahda

The head of Tunisia’s ruling Islamist party, Rached Ghannouchi. AFP photo

The leader of the Tunisian Islamist party that rose to power after the first Arab Spring uprising last year said that Islamist movements would eventually emerge triumphant throughout the Arab world after a difficult transition period.

Rached Ghannouchi, whose Ennahda party governs with two junior leftist partners, said secular groups should join forces with Islamists to manage the first phase after autocratic rulers were removed. But in the end, Islam will be the “reference point.”

“The Arab world is going through a transition phase which needs coalitions to govern, which brings together Islamist and secular trends,” Ghannouchi said in an interview during a trip to London where he spoke at Chatham House.

“These coalitions will lead to eventual rapprochement between the Islamists and the secularists.”

However, he added Islamists would have the upper hand. “There’s a true way that Islam represents the common ground for everyone ... Eventually Islam becomes a reference point for everyone,” he said.

 Ghannouchi, who returned to Tunisia from exile in London after Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali fled in January 2011, predicted there would be more change in the Gulf Arab region, whose family-ruled states, insulated by oil and gas wealth, have been the most resistant to the Arab Spring.

Change in Gulf

“I expect the victory of the Syrian revolution, reforms in more than one Arab country, particularly in the Gulf region,” Ghannouchi said, when asked about the next stage, citing Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar.

“And for the countries where there have been revolutions, (I expect) there to be more stability.”

Speaking through an interpreter, Ghannouchi said he saw further reforms in Morocco.