Beji Caied Essebsi, Prime Minister of the Interim Government stressed that the government’s agenda for the coming period and priority actions announced Thursday by the Interim President Fouad Mebazaa are restoring the prestige
of the State that has deteriorated significantly in recent time.
This implies, he said, restoring order and security in all regions and institutions “because the country is now on the brink “of breaking with the old regime and
suspend the 1959 Constitution.
Speaking during a press conference Friday in Carthage, he said that the Interim President and the Prime Minister in the Interim Government will not run for the next presidential election, noting that Ministers who hope to do so must withdraw from the current Government.
“We will ensure that this election will take place for first time in the history of Tunisia in total credibility and transparency, which is an important step towards democracy, “he said.
The suspension of the Constitution will give rise to dissolution of all institutions within it, and this until the election of a constituent assembly that meets the demands of the people.
The Interim President and the Interim Government will withdraw then, “after the people would have regained his confidence in the State institutions and the country’s future, “he specified.
The Prime Minister said that anyone made guilty under the old regime will be tried, starting with the head of state, who committed the crime of “high treason “and all the big names of the former regime.
He said breaking with the former regime «is not a simple matter,” underlining that any Constitutional Democrat or anyone who held a decision-making position, under the regime of the ousted president is not necessarily corrupt or subject to reproach.
He added that criticisms heaped by some on the ministers of the interior and justice and on security structures are baseless, since fair and responsible decisions and judgments “need time and patience and should not prejudice people or disparage them and it is necessary to preserve the dignity of individuals.”
He also expressed satisfaction at the improvement of the situation, “thanks to the efforts made by members of the interim government, their good management as well as their sense of responsibility,” pointing out that establishing security and preserving the country’s integrity also require more time and great efforts.
The prime minister said he understood participants in the Kasbah square sit-in and that he shares “their sufferings, their demands and their concerns,” seeing that
“living through injustice and deprivation for more than twenty years can only cause anger and frustration.
He said that measures announced by the interim president are likely to calm young participants in the sit-in which would allow moving to the stage of construction and development with all that it requires at the level of restoring security, particularly regarding the tourism sector.
Mr. Caied Essebsi said the mission of the interim government is to “run the country’s current affairs, ensure its salvation and lighten the way.”
He said, in this regard, that a roadmap has been set up for the next stage, through the election of a Constituent Assembly within a period not exceeding four months, after the adoption of an electoral law providing necessary guarantees for the next elections.
He also underlined that the country has entered a new stage thanks to what have been achieved by the Tunisian people in their Revolution which was “spontaneous and whose leadership cannot be claimed by anyone.”
He also announced that the line-up of the interim government will be announced in two days, after its endorsement by the interim president.
He said, in this respect, that the new government “will shoulder responsibility with loyalty in the interest of Tunisia and its progress” and will also be driven by
the noble humanitarian values and integrity so that the country would manage to overcome this stage.
Having underlined that Tunisia has managed, since its Independence, to achieve many gains, particularly women’s emancipation and generalization of education, the prime minister said the major challenge of the interim government is to create jobs for university graduates whom the national economy finds difficulties in absorbing.
He said that despite the gains made under the former regime and the international influence enjoyed by Tunisia,” the past two decade were a dark period as a result of unhealthy practices of a criminal gang” who ransacked people’s property.
He added that the coming period requires more work and perseverance to overcome this situation through the cohesion of the people, with all their categories, around
the interim government so that each one would contribute, from his position, to assume the shared responsibility in Tunisia’s transition to a new stage based on democracy and transparency.
Mr. Caied Essebsi called upon Tunisia to place confidence in this government and give it needed time to discharge its mission, saying that the door is open to different
opinions as part of full freedom of expression.