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Tunisia's Ennahda vacillating over leader's future in the party

Ennahda is slated to elect a new leader in May, but some members want the vote moved forward in light of the movement's leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, now also serving as speaker of parliament, but others appear to want bylaws to be changed to allow him to remain as movement head.
Leader of the Islamist Ennahda party Rachid Ghannouchi attends presidential candidate Abdelfattah Mourou's election campaign in Tunis, Tunisia, September 13, 2019. REUTERS/Muhammad Hamed REFILE - CORRECTING IDENTITY, ACTION AND EVENT - RC132F03FE50

TUNIS — Amid concerns that a planned electoral conference of Ennahda's Shura Council might be postponed, Abdullatif Mekki, a member of the council, called for expediting the meeting, scheduled to be held in May 2020, four years after the 10th conference in May 2016. The party's 11th electoral conference will select a new leader of the movement, it was announced Dec. 12. 

Mekki accused Ennahda’s current leader, Rachid Ghannouchi, of not being able to fulfill his duties as head of the movement while also serving as parliament speaker. Ghannouchi was elected speaker in November to serve from 2019 to 2024. Mekki, a member of Ennahda's reformist wing, pointed to a clause in Ennahda’s bylaws stipulating that its president must be dedicated to his duties as head of the movement. Mekki said that should he be nominated to succeed Ghannouchi nothing would stop him from running.

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