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Tunisian exiled leader to return home

by Byo24NEWS
17 Jan 2011 at 11:32hrs | Views
The exiled head of the main Tunisian opposition party says he plans to return home after the departure of the ousted ruler Zine El Abidin Ben Ali.

Rached Ghannouchi, leader of Tunisia's Ennahda political party, said on Saturday that he would return home within the next few days from exile in London.

"I am going to go back very soon," Reuters quoted Ghannouchi as saying in a telephone interview, PressTV reported.

"I haven't decided when yet, but possibly in the days to come," he went on to say.

"The reasons that forced me to leave do not exist anymore. The dictatorship has fallen ... There is nothing to stop me [from] returning to my country after 22 years of exile," he added.

Ben Ali left the country over increasing public discontent on Friday after sacking his cabinet members and commissioning Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi to form a new government.

Angry protesters have rallied in the country since last month, opposing the nation's political system and calling for broad reforms and changes in governing institutions.

The opposition and rights groups say scores of people have been killed in clashes with police since the start of the unrests last month.

In the wake of the unexpected ouster of Ben Ali, a new wave of protests and turmoil has swept across the capital, Tunis.

Tunisia's Constitutional Council says the presidential election must be held within 60 days, after placing the country's Parliament speaker Fouad Mebazza in power.

The council, Tunisia's highest legal authority on Constitutional issues, decided to formally oust Ben Ali and put Mebazaa in charge based on Article 57 of the Constitution.

Tunisian airports were reopened after Ben Ali fled to Jeddah in Saudi Arabia.

Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for more than two decades. His era was marred by repeated human rights violations and torture.

Source - Reuters