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Tunisian Islamist Leader Seeks Calm After Unrest


Rachid Ghannouchi, the founder of the Ennahda party

Rachid Ghannouchi, the founder of the Ennahda party

The leader of the moderate Islamist party that won Tunisia's first free elections has called for calm after protests erupted in the town where the country's revolution began.

Authorities called for a curfew in the town of Sidi Bouzid, where supporters of a local candidate rioted after he was docked seats for campaigning violations.

Rachid Ghannouchi, founder of the Ennahda, or Renaissance, party which took 90 of the assembly's 217 seats, said that "We call for calm among the inhabitants of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the revolution which must be at the forefront of preserving the public good."

Ghannouchi's long-banned Ennahda party has promised to create a broad-based coalition as it works to form a government to replace interim leaders who have run Tunisia since ousted President Zine el-Abidine ben Ali fled to Saudi Arabia in January.

compiled from agency reports
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