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TV debate with Interim Prime Minister

Published the:  08/05/2011

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May 8, 2011 – TAP  - The recent declarations of former Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi are "dangerous and completely unfounded" and come from "a totally irresponsible and treacherous person," said Interim Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi.
Speaking at a TV debate Sunday, Mr. Caïd Essebsi affirmed that the accusations made by Rajhi about a "shadow Government" are "trivial and ungrounded," adding that "the only Government now ruling the country is the Interim Government" and warning that he did not allow anyone to interfere with his decisions as Prime Minister.
Explaining why Rajhi had been dismissed from the Interior Ministry, the Interim PM said that contrary to what the latter had claimed he had been replaced owing to his poor performance and his misappreciation of the machinery of the State.
Rajhi, he added, had appointed a Director General of the National Security Department without even seeking advice from the President of the Republic or the Prime Minister. "It is highly likely that Rajhi has been manipulated," the Interim PM reckoned, stressing that all his declarations confirm his ignorance notably when he spoke of a possible coup in case 'Ennahdha' Movement wins the elections and when he charged "people of the Sahel region" with keeping a stranglehold on power.
"These accusations are very dangerous and aim to stir up ill-feeling and sow discord in the country", he noted, affirming that justice should make a ruling about these declarations since the national Defense Ministry had decided to refer this case to justice.
The Interim PM also said that the declarations of Rajhi were made following the consensus reached by the Government and the High Authority for the Achievement of Revolution objectives, Political Reform and Transition to Democracy on Article 15, which allows some doubt about his intentions and those of his partners.
As regards the recent security drift in the capital and in several other cities, Mr. Beji Caïd Essebsi explained that the security staff had felt ''offended and affected '' and were now suffering a psychological shock and a breakdown in trust, stating in this regard the decision made by the Interior Ministry to prosecute several policemen whose involvement had been confirmed in the violence against citizens and journalists during the demonstrations staged at the end of last week in Tunis.
With respect to prisons and their staff, the Prime Minister said they are also living through a crisis and carrying on professional and social claims, stressing that the Government is now unable to meet all these claims. The directors of some prisons, he added, had even demanded not to prosecute one of their colleagues accused of killing a prisoner, which is impossible ''out of our commitment to the independence of justice and non-interference in its affairs''.
Speaking of the developments of the situation on the Tunisian-Libyan borders, the Prime Minister declared that Tunisia had hosted Libyan brothers and provided them with the necessary medical care without exclusion, denying rumors that NATO had requested Tunisia to let it carry out land military operations in Libya.