Tunisian Islamist party leader returns home

January 30, 2011 14:50

TUNIS, Tunisia  — The leader of a Tunisian Islamist party that was long outlawed by authorities has returned to his homeland after two decades in exile.

About 1,000 people crowded into the Tunis airport Sunday to welcome Rachid Ghanouchi, leader of the Ennahdha, or Renaissance, party.

His return from London follows the ouster of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who was forced from power by violent protests this month after 23 years in power. Ennahdha was branded an Islamic terrorist group by Ben Ali but is considered moderate by scholars.

Ghanouchi has said he is not interested in running for president or other posts in upcoming elections. His party has moved quickly to carve out a place in the political scene, taking part in demonstrations and meeting with the prime minister.

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