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Islamist leader Rachid Ghannouchi returns to Tunisia. What's his next move?

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Concern about Ghannouchi's then-pending return sparked protests by Tunisian women Saturday, reports Agence France-Presse. Hundreds of women, including "actresses, university lecturers, and human rights campaigners," took to the streets in Tunis to show their resolve to maintain the well-established rights of women in the country.


"We want to send an important message to the Islamists, especially those from the Ennahdha movement -- that we are not ready to pull back on or abandon our rights," said Sabah Mahmoudi, a university lecturer, told AFP.

Cabinet reshuffle

But Ghannouchi returns as the upheaval in Tunisia continues to wind down. Al Jazeera reported Thursday that Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi (no relation to Rachid Ghannouchi) reshuffled his cabinet for the second time since Ben Ali's ouster, removing several ministers whom protesters opposed as being a continuation of Ben Ali's government. Prime Minister Ghannouchi said that the new cabinet was "a temporary government with a clear mission - to allow a transition to democracy," and its members had been determined in consultaion with all political groups involved.

Although Rachid Ghannouchi has said that he plans to make Ennahda into an active Tunisian political party, he says he has no plans to run for office himself. In an interview with the Financial Times earlier this month, he said that "I have no political aspirations myself, neither for standing as a minister, for parliament or president. Some are presenting me as a Khomeini who will return to Tunisia – I am no Khomeini."

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