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Badinter: Tunisians' fate is in their own hands

Published the:  05/05/2011

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May 5, 2011 - TAP - "Tunisia is very rich in great lawyers and ingenious minds. I am not worried in any way about the success of democratic transition", said on Thursday in Tunis French lawyer, academic and politician Robert Badinter.
Speaking at the end of his meeting with Interim Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi, the former President of the French Constitutional Council said the talk had made it possible to "exchange general views on the rule of law and the different problems posed by the birth of democracy in a country like Tunisia, such a nation replete with talents and riches".
Mr. Badinter, who had had the opportunity to intervene in the new democracies of eastern Europe, in the Balkans and also in South Africa, said in this regard that "it is not the foreign friends' business to substitute themselves for the Tunisians: the latter's fate is in their own hands/.../ The foreign expertise or advice ought to be very modest, in these circumstances".
Robert Badinter, who had served as Justice Minister under President François Mitterrand, underlined: "we are here only to review the difficulties and possible solutions, and certainly not to provide answers, which are given by the Tunisian people themselves".
The transition period, he specified, is not the moment when decisions involving the country's future are taken, it is rather the time when these decisions are prepared, the period of preliminary work during which all hypotheses should be set".
"Before holding of the Constituent Assembly's election, problems should be posed, discussed, but not solved," he argued, pointing out that "the reply would come later on with the elected Assembly which will enjoy the people's legitimacy".
Transition should thus serve to prepare for the free elections, for the debate of opinions with the guarantee of freedom of communication and for the participation of all, he concluded.
Mr. Badinter is paying a visit to Tunisia to take part in the international conference on "Democratic Transition in Light of Compared Experiences", held from May 5 to 7 by the Tunis Faculty of Legal, Political and Social Sciences.