List News    News

Prime Minister: faithfulness to martyrs' blood now dictates return to work and perseverance

Published the:  21/01/2011

| Share

National Unity Government (NUG) Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi said that Tunisia entered a decisive turn-point which is a clear-cut and true departure from the past, as martyrs fell for the sake of dignity and liberty, property and rights of so many citizens who have been spoiled as a result of fraud and excesses under the old regime.
The most important thing, at present, consists in affirming that all people who committed those crimes at the detriment of the Tunisian people and the country should now account for their deeds; and Justice will have the upper hand.
In an interview broadcast, on Friday January 22, 2011, over Tunisian TV channels, Mr. Mohamed Ghannouchi pledged that he will leave politics after the country's transition to democracy and retire, stating that Tunisia now has youths and competences able to take up the torch and carry on shouldering responsibility in order to guarantee the country's progress and preserve people's gains, in such a manner that the crisis the Tunisian people is going through become a driving force to achieve so many better things for the homeland and citizens.
In the interview with two independent journalists, Ridha Kéfi and Salwa Charfi, the Premier added that breaking with the old regime materialised in the institutionalisation of freedom of the press, the State's decision to retrieve all property entrusted to the RCD and all assets and real estate property illegally acquired, to arrest all persons involved in embezzlement and corruption and in all acts detrimental to the citizens, to hand them over to the law and freeze their assets and bank accounts abroad.
On assurances to break off with the Ben Ali regime, the Prime Minister indicated that this rupture is evidenced by the putting into effect of several practical measures, including in particular separation between State and the RCD party, and his own resignation and the interim President's, and all members of NUG, from the former ruling party.
In an answer to a question on his position vis-à-vis the Islamic movement and the likelihood of the latter's recognition and its association in the national political life, notably through figures allied to it and active in civil society, Mr. Ghannouchi said: "we have no right to exclude any Tunisian if they abide by the Law and commit themselves to the choices of freedom of opinion and speech. Whoever would be excluded, he would be driven out by justice."
He asserted that the Tunisian State is a secular State which made fundamental choices and historic gains which notably encompass education, health, women's rights and liberties, such irreversible gains, as much as the choice of openness and modernity which is part and parcel of the national character.
The Prime Minister specified, in this connection, that these peculiarities have helped Tunisian people carry out its great revolution, with its deep civilisational ramifications, with the participation of youths who played a key role in making this happen.
On the possibility to indemnify families of last month's martyrs, the Premier, clearly affected, said that these families will be indemnified given their children's sacrifices and their eminent contribution to the changes that occurred in the country and its safe crossing to sure haven.
In another connection, Mr. Ghannouchi pointed out that the caretaker Government materialised, since its formation and starting from its first meeting, its commitment to meet demands and aspirations for which the Tunisians made huge sacrifices, stating that the Commission for Political Reform headed by one of Tunisia's best sons and which is going to comprise representatives of all political and civil stripes, is faced with a harsh task consisting in submitting political and legislative reforms meant to invalidate anti-democratic laws promulgated under the old regime, such as the anti-terrorist act and the electoral law.
Proposals and reforms that would be submitted by that Commission, he said, are such a robust platform that the coming elections will be the first in the Tunisian people's history to take place in a climate of total liberty, loyalty and transparency.
Mr. Mohamed Ghannouchi pointed out that Government's mission will be to ensure management of current affairs, insisting that the present situation requires mainly to restore the national economy's normal pace, underscoring the imperative to reassure investors, guarantee sources of income and jobs to applicants, and identify the means and potentials to repair the losses incurred by several citizens.
He added that, in light of this situation, it is indispensable that Government includes competent, experienced and honest people so as to put the country once again on the sound track and re-energise the economy in the shortest terms possible.
The Premier pointed out that members of NUG took the oath to serve the citizen and the homeland, and if any criticism is to be leveled at some of them, only the laws of the country and the National Commission on Corruption and Embezzlement will have the final say.
He reminded that he has endeavoured, during and after formation of Government, to establish contact and dialogue with all sides of the national political scene and with Tunisian personalities, with whom he has discussed openly the challenges and stakes posed to the country and underscored the important chance made available to Tunisia and all Tunisian people to achieve reconciliation with their country's history.
Mr. Mohamed Ghannouchi underlined the first Cabinet meeting, held last Thursday, was marked by frank and open dialogue; it lasted four hours and at its end very important measures were taken, underlining that there is no way of comparing the atmosphere characterising Thursday's meeting with Cabinet meetings under the old regime, insofar as all sides have come out of the meeting fully convinced, after their deep and transparent discussions and the decisions and steps taken.
He pointed out that duty and responsibility now dictate to strive so that the next elections be a successful stage and a transition in Tunisia's progress, stressing that this mission hinges on the Higher Commission for Political Reform which will see to it that an adequate political and legislative platform be set up to carry out successfully this event which should take place in an environment of liberty, transparency and impartiality, and thus reflect, for the first time, the actual will of the Tunisian people.
Mr. Ghannouchi added that the caretaker Government's action, as well as the three commissions' entrusted with political reform, establishment of facts on corruption and embezzlement under the old regime, is a coherent and harmonious work aimed, in the first place, to salvage Tunisia and put on the right path.
Regarding withdrawal of UGTT representatives from NUG, the Prime Minister said that dialogue has been deepened with the labour organisation on its readiness to be part of the Government, specifying that after the announcement of its make-up, UGTT abandoned the idea of being member of the Government. He underlined that the problem has nothing to do with persons. Rather, what matters is the efficiency of politics and the practical measures to be taken, reminding that the Government is a transition one.
UGTT members, he specified, did not join the Government and they might do so in the future, which accounts for our will no to rush to replace the ministries granted to the labour organisation.
On the security situation at present, the Prime Minister indicated that several gang members have been arrested as they spread terror and chaos and caused serious trouble, carried out acts of theft and looted, reminding that 380 people are being interrogated to check charges lodged against them and eventually identify the existence of other sides involved in these operations, underlining that the security situation has steadily been improving.
On the case of the presidential guard, he pointed out that the blame should not be put on all members of that body to have plotted against security of the State, underlining that the excesses committed by some elements of those forces do not mean that the whole body has been involved in the painful events Tunisia has suffered.
Speaking about the existence of outside support to the terror gangs and vandalism, Mr. Mohamed Ghannouchi said that his Government does not possess solid evidence on these allegations and that an investigation is underway to this end, pointing out that Tunisia vows respect to all brotherly and friendly countries, confessing his deep conviction that the latter support the Tunisian people in their glorious revolution.
He added that the brotherly and friendly countries will be kept informed of the situation in Tunisia and of the radical transformations taking place in the country, saying he is confident that those countries will side with the Tunisian people's revolution, a revolution that deeply entrenched among the Tunisians pride of their homeland.
Besides, Mr. Ghannouchi pointed out the Prime Minister in the deposed Government had been tasked with the business of governmental co-ordination; he did not have relation with State ministries or else with the banking sector and loans, specifying that his main function had consisted in attracting investments and preserving the country's financial balances, notably by means of improving Tunisia's foreign trade relations.
He said that he had suffered like any other Tunisian as a result of certain situations prevailing in the country during the last years, and that had led him on several occasions to think seriously about resigning, including once in 2009, all the more so that the ousted President had solid grip on the final decisions about all issues.
He added that the call of duty urged him, on all those occasions, to change his mind in order to preserve the national gains and to circumscribe the likely damage to be suffered by the country, underlining that several ministers in the former Government made huge efforts, on their part, to discharge their mission in spite of the pressures they underwent, in a variety of strategic and vital sectors.
The Prime Minister specified that faithfulness to the martyrs' blood, and receptiveness to the people's demands and aspirations, dictate to focus on work, issuing a message to reassure all partners who had backed up the Tunisian people and the financial and business circles, a message which consists in saying to them that the coming period will be better and that real chances of success are on offer to Tunisian and foreign investors wishing to take initiatives, at home and abroad, to invest in Tunisia.

Mr. Ghannouchi indicated, in conclusion, that the threesome of confidence, transparency, human competences and attraction of capitals will help Tunisia and its people work miracles, and take up the posed great challenges, including in particular joblessness and consecration of liberty and democracy, progress on the path of knowledge acquisition, as the only path for building a better future.