Published 28th September, 2011
The Renaissance Party or Hisb al-Nahda was founded on 6th June 1981 but not recognised. In its early years it was known as Islamic Action and supported the 1979 Iranian Revolution. Later it was known as the Movement of the Islamic Tendency and in 1989 renamed itself Hisb al-Nahda or Renaissance Party. The party was legally recognised on 1st March 2011. It describes itself as a moderate Islamic democratic party and believes in economic liberalism.
In the 1989 elections it ws prevented from standing, although some of its members stood as independents. In the early nineties it was labelled as a terrorist organisation and its leader in exile, Rachid al-Ghanouchi, was sentenced to life imprisonment.
Since the revolution they have tried hard to soften their earlier rhetoric, describing themselves as an Islamic Party and not an Islamist Party. They are the frontrunners in a crowded field of parties in the run up to the 23rd October election.
The Renaissance Party is affiliated to the Muslim Brotherhood.