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Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda Party Re-Elects Ghannouchi as Leader

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July 17 (Bloomberg) -- Tunisia’s ruling Islamist Ennahda party re-elected Rashid Ghannouchi as its leader at the first public congress for a group that was banned until last year’s popular uprising.

Ghannouchi, who has led Ennahda since 1991, won more than 70 percent of votes, said AbdelLatif Mekki, the congress’ head. He defeated rival candidates including Sakek Chorou and Habib Elouz who have backed the inclusion of Islamic law in the new constitution that is being drafted.

Ennahda won the most seats in the elections in October last year that followed the overthrow of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and formed a coalition government with two other parties. The group stressed in its final statement at the congress that it was committed to a moderate political approach and a rejection of “extremism.”

Ghannouchi, who didn’t take a government post in the coalition, was elected to serve another two years as party leader before a new vote is held in 2014.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jihen Laghmari in Tunis at jlaghmarid@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew J. Barden in Dubai at barden@bloomberg.net

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