By Mahir Caidan and Enes Canli
MONASTIR, Tunisia (AA) – Tunisia’s Islamist Ennahda movement has nominated a Jew for the country’s upcoming local election in May.
Simon Selame, 56, from the central coast city of Monastir, will run as an independent in the May 6 polls.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Selame said he has the right to join the democratic race like every Tunisian citizen.
Ennahda “is a civilian party with Islamic identity that is open to modernism," he said, adding that all Jews in Tunisia could participate in civic, social and political life as Tunisian citizens.
Selame said he was born and raised in Monastir, where “synagogue, church and mosque stay together."
“Even though children of the town have different religions, our citizenship brings us together,” he said.
If he emerges successful in the polls, Selame said he would seek to encourage the Jewish community to participate in the upcoming parliamentary election.
“I am sure that I would join the polls as an independent candidate from the Ennahda Movement. If a party other than Ennahda came to me with this offer, that would not be the answer,” he said.
“I would not regret this experience, because Tunisia's future is above everything.”
There are about 1,500 Jews living in Tunisia, particularly around Djerba Island in the south of the country.
The local polls in May will be the first since a popular uprising unseated autocrat Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011.
The deadline for candidates to apply to run for the polls will end on Friday.