4 March 2011

Tunisia: Interim President Announces Election of National Constituent Assembly On July 24

Tunis — Interim President Foued Mebazaa announced, in his address to the Tunisian people on Thursday evening, that the country has entered a new period of its history, one that rests on the people's exercise of their full sovereignty as part of a new political system that breaks off definitely and irreversibly with the deposed regime.

In accordance with provisions of Article 57 of the Constitution and "to protect continuity and durability of this State, also as a token of fidelity to the memory of the martyrs and to implement the principles of the Revolution," Mr. Foued Mebazaa emphasised his commitment to carry on his mission beyond March 15, 2011, until the elections are held.

He presented a detailed plan of political events "that will determine the country's near future," a road map which, he said, "has enjoyed broad consensus among the different political sides, components of civil society and national organisations to meet the aspirations of the brave Tunisian people who expressed determination to break off one and for all with the past, during their Revolution against tyranny and oppression, and their firm commitment to fully exercise their sovereignty, by choosing freely and without any form of tutelage, their representatives to achieve a healthy and serene democratic transition."

He also announced the adoption of an interim organisation of public powers, composed of the interim president and a transitory government headed by Mr. Béji Caid Essebsi, and which will end the day when the National Constituent Assembly will start its works, after its free, pluralistic and fair election, next July 24.

The Interim President said that, in order to elect the National Constituent Assembly democratically and in accordance with the principles of the Revolution, a special electoral system will be set up to this end.

He underlined that "the Commission for the Achievement of the Objectives of the Revolution and Democratic Transition" is striving to elaborate the required legal text in this respect, which will be the focus of a consultation within the Commission's Council, a body to be made up of national political figures, representatives of the different political parties, authorities, organisations and associations and components of civil society, in the capital and from the regions, i.e. people who had contributed and supported the Revolution. He announced that this legal document will be adopted by late March so that effective preparations for the elections could start.

Mr. Mebazaa underlined that the implementation of this programme will finalise the work for the next period, with a view to meeting "the expectations of the Tunisian people, and remaining faithful to the memory of the brave martyrs, which would reverberate across the world the authentic image of the Tunisian Revolution, and grant it its higher place in human civilisation."

He voiced strong determination to put into effect this programme with sincerity and all transparency, to guarantee the democratic transition and place it "in safe hands, the hands of the National Constituent Assembly which is the best expression of future Tunisia, Tunisia of freedom and dignity."

Mr. Foued Mebazaa also reassured the Tunisian people on the security situation which, he said, has witnessed a noticeable improvement, thanks to the combined efforts of all forces: the home security, the armed forces and citizens.

He also denounced some sides' attempts at sowing terror in minds to impede the Revolution process and prevent preparation of appropriate conditions for the peaceful and civilised democratic transition.

These sides, he said, used, in order to carry out their acts, suspicious practices that undermine public order and other people's freedoms and disrupt the pace of development and the normal and steady functioning of public services in a period that requires from true patriots greater sincere work and efforts to create new jobs, wipe out gradually the pockets of poverty and improve living standards, in particular those of the disadvantaged categories.

He stressed the need to demonstrate responsibility and give up, in this difficult situation, personal and partial demands to bar the way for regression, preserve the will of the people to decide their destiny and choose the political system that suits them, especially at this very difficult juncture on our southern borders, as a result of the events taking place in sisterly Libya which require from all vigilance and solidarity with our Tunisian brothers returning from Libya and mutual assistance for brothers and friends who took shelter in Tunisia.

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