The leader of Tunisia's Ennahdha Party Ghannouchi says while the region was now entering a "new era of democratic transition,” the process of democratisation had been more successful in Tunisia than in other countries.
The founder and head of Tunisia’s Ennahdha Party, Rached Ghannouchi said, a new era had started in the Arab world despite all negativities and voiced his hope that Arab countries would be “among free countries."
The Arab world is in a worse state today than it was before the so-called Arab Spring uprisings took place in 2011, Ghannouchi, said, reflecting on people's feelings on Wednesday.
Speaking at the TRT World Forum in Turkey's Istanbul, Ghannouchi said that six years on from the Arab Spring, “the situation [in the Arab world] is even sadder than how it was in 2010.”
“When you look at Egypt, people are actually missing the era of Mubarak,” Ghannouchi said, referring to former dictator Hosni Mubarak who ruled Egypt for three decades and stepped down in early 2011 after months of protests and civil unrest.
“Revolutionaries feel regret and want to go back to the era of their dictators because they would have greater security,” Ghannouchi added.
Ghannouchi, who was exiled from Tunisia for 22 years after fleeing in 1988 when the government rejected his party’s application for parliamentary elections did, however, express his hopes for a brighter future.
“The Arab world is entering a new era of democratic transition,” he told the forum, which brought together leading experts, senior decision-makers and influencers from all over the world.
On his home country Tunisia, the birthplace of the Arab Spring revolutions that swept a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East, Ghannouchi noted that the process of democratisation had been more successful there than in other countries.
He said that Tunisia faced “less external pressure than other countries like Egypt and Syria,” which have been gripped by militancy, instability and war for the past six years.
Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia soon after 2011 revolution.
His Ennahdha Party, the largest political party in Tunisia, won 41 percent of seats in the Tunisian parliament in the October 2011 elections, the first to be held after the country’s former autocratic leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled in January of that year.
The Ennahdha Party, having collected more votes than the four next biggest parties combined, formed a coalition government with two other secular parties.
Ghannouchi did not take a government position, but his perseverance and understanding of other parties’ viewpoints guided his party to adopt a modern, forward-looking constitution that attributed to the establishment of a durable democracy in Tunisia.