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Democrat or Islamist firebrand — who is Tunisia's Rachid Ghannouchi?

In an interview with Al-Monitor, Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's Ennahda party, discusses the forthcoming elections and how Ennahda has shaped post-revolution politics in Tunisia.
Rached Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda movement, speaks during the movement's  congress in Tunis, Tunisia May 20, 2016. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi - S1BETFETVCAA

TUNIS, Tunisia — On a chilly January morning at his modest villa outside Tunis, Rachid Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia's pro-Islamic Ennahda party, opened the conversation with an ode to women.

“I bet on women," he said in an exclusive interview with Al-Monitor. "I am surrounded by women. My wife decides everything.” Ghannouchi's wife is an English literature graduate, and the couple's four daughters were trained in turn as a lawyer, an astrophysicist, a sociologist and a journalist. Three of them hold doctoral degrees, and all were educated in the West. Flanked by a pair multilingual female associates, the 77-year-old Muslim intellectual shared a couch with this female reporter after firmly shaking her hand.

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