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This election be the first one in Tunisia's history to take place in total credibility and transparency 

Published the:  04/03/2011

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March 4, 2011 - TAP - Caretaker Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi pointed out that the Interim Government's program for the coming period and its priorities as announced, on Thursday March 4, 2011, by Interim President Foued Mebazaa, consist in restoring the State's prestige which has noticeably deteriorated in the past period and re-establishing order and security in all regions and institutions, "as the country is on the verge of the abyss", to definitely break off with the old regime and suspend the 1959 Constitution.
Talking during a news conference held on Friday in Tunis, with attendance of the government members, the chief of staff of the armed forces and several representatives of the national, Arab and international press, Mr. Caïd Essebsi pointed out that the Interim President and Prime Minister would not run for the next presidential election, adding that those ministers wishing to do so should quit the government.
"We will see to it that this election be the first one in Tunisia's history to take place in total credibility and transparency, which is an important step on the path of democracy," he stressed.
Suspension of the Constitution will entail dissolution of all institutions stemming from it, pending the election of a constituent assembly which meets people's demands. The Interim President and Caretaker Government will thus withdraw, "once the people have recovered confidence in themselves, in the State institutions and in the country's future", he also specified.
Mr. Caïd Essebsi asserted that all persons proved guilty under the old regime will be brought to justice, starting with the deposed Head of State who committed the crime of "high treason," not to mention all those key figures of the ousted system.
Mr. Béji Caïd Essebsi said that breaking off with the former regime "is not an easy business," underlining that any Constitutional Democrat or any person who held a decision-making position under the ousted president's regime is not necessarily corrupt or subject to reproach.
He added that criticism heaped by some on the Interior and Justice Ministers, and on security structures, is baseless, since fair and responsible decisions and judgments "require time and patience and should neither prejudice people nor disparage them; and there is need to preserve the individual's dignity".
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 shared "their sufferings, demands and concerns," given the simple fact that "spending more than twenty years under injustice and deprivation can only generate anger and frustration".
He said that the measures announced by the Interim President would calm down young participants in the sit-in, which would help to step in the stage of construction and development, and all that it requires in terms of restoring security, particularly regarding the tourism sector.
Mr. Caïd Essebsi said the Interim Government's mission is to "run the country's current affairs, ensure its salvation and clear the way for it".
He said, in this connection, that a road map has been devised 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 the needed guarantees for the coming elections.
He also underlined that the country has entered a new stage thanks to what has been achieved by the Tunisian people in their Revolution, one which he described as "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' time, after its endorsement by the Interim President.
He said, in this respect, that the new government "will shoulder its responsibility with loyalty, in the service of Tunisia's interest and progress" and will also be driven by the noble humanitarian values and integrity so that the country makes a success of this stage.
After underlining that Tunisia managed, since its Independence, to achieve many gains, particularly women's emancipation and generalization of education, the Prime Minister said the major challenge facing the Interim Government is to create jobs for university graduates whom the national economy finds difficulties to absorbing.
He said that, despite the gains made under the former regime and the international influence enjoyed by Tunisia, "the past two decades were a dark period as a result of the unhealthy practices of a criminal gang" who plundered people's property.
He added that the coming period requires more work and perseverance to overcome this situation through the cohesion of people, all categories included, around the Interim Government so that everybody be able to contribute, from their position, to the common responsibility of Tunisia's transition to a new stage based on democracy and transparency.
Mr. Caïd Essebsi called on the Tunisians to place confidence in this government and give it needed time to discharge its mission, saying that the door is open to all people's opinions, as part of full freedom of expression.
To a question on the situation of Dar Al-Amal, the Prime Minister said the media assume a major role in the democratic process, as they contribute to better inform on the government's activity, support its efforts and entrench national unity.
He emphasized the Interim Government's keenness to grant due attention to this sector so that it would be transparent and responsible.