Tunisian FM says government will allow Islamist party

Tunisian Foreign Minister Kamal Morjane said that the government does not mind establishing an Islamic party in Tunisia under a republican form of government and constitution.

"It is true that Tunisian Islamists do not have a recognized party, but we do not object having one as long as they will respect the constitution and the principles of the republic,” Morjane said in an interview with Al-Masry Al-Youm.

Morjane, who is considered to be a strong potential candidate for presidency, did not mention the Ennahda (Renaissance) Party, which is an Islamist opposition political party that was banned under former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.

The interim Tunisian government recently lifted the ban on some political parties, and decided to grant amnesty to all political prisoners, including members of the banned Islamic Ennahda movement. The draft amnesty law will be referred to parliament for approval.

Morjane called on all political parties to forget past disputes and problems, except corruption. He said that corrupt people will be punished in all circumstances.

If the current transitional Tunisian government is toppled, he said, Tunisia will fall prey to chaos and violence, Islamic hegemony, or foreign intervention.

Morjane was slated to represent Tunisia at the Arab Economic Summit this week in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, but he left Egypt unexpectedly to attend the new government's first meeting in Tunisia on Thursday.

It is widely expected that Morjane, the former minister of defense, is backed by the US and many Western and Arab countries to take over as Ben Ali's successor.

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