Tunisia’s largest Islamist movement, the Ennahda party has pulled out of talks over the date of the country’s first election since the fall of the former president earlier this year.

The Ennahda party has withdrawn from a representative council that was set up to safeguard the goals of the Jasmine Revolution following the fall of the former regime. It says it will not return until there is a clear agreement on the date of the election.

The party’s leader Rached Ghannouchi returned to Tunisia at the end of January after 22 years in exile in the UK (MEED 31:1:11). On 1 March, Tunisia allowed Ennahda to form a political party.

Ennahda and the interim government led by prime minister Beji Caid Essebsi want the election to be held on 24 July but the newly-formed electoral commission wants the election to be held on 16 October, allowing it more time to prepare.

A compromise date in September has been suggested.

Former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia on 14 January following weeks of protests against his regime.