20 February 2013

Tunisia: Hamadi Jebali Resigns, Will Engage in New Experience Only 'Under Conditions'

Carthage — Interim Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced in a Television speech Tuesday from Carthage Palace, that he had submitted his resignation to Caretaker President Moncef Marzouki.

"I had pledged to resign if the initiative to form a government of apolitical technocrats fails and that is what I did today," he said, adding that "this failure and this resignation are not a failure of Tunisia or of its Revolution."

"This resignation does not mean a dereliction of duty either," he also stressed, saying he had asked all government members at a Cabinet meeting held Tuesday to continue their activities in the service of the people and the State.

"We will work to ensure the sustainability of the State and the continuity of its services and will ensure that there will be no political and institutional vacuum at all levels," he said.

Hamadi Jebali also said that "the Tunisian people is disappointed with his political elite" and that his resignation "is a step to win back confidence" and "a test for all political players and parties."

About his possible candidacy for the post of prime minister in the next government, Mr. Hamadi Jebali said "he is still convinced of the need to form a government of apolitical experts," provided that the next government will be "beyond all political wrangling, ensure a platform of national dialogue without exclusion and above all set a date for the next elections.

He added: "I will not engage in a new experience unless a date for the next elections is set and before everything else the Constitution is completed."

What is most important is to provide a clearer vision to Tunisians, economic and social players and the national and international public opinion, he stressed.

"The next government, even if it is a coalition one, must be the government of all Tunisians and defend the rights of all citizens to rally and express themselves freely," Jebali insisted, adding: "The State must shoulder its responsibility and ensure freedoms and not allow any party, organisation or committee to replace its role."

"These conditions are a kind of a moral contract with the Tunisian people," he said adding "he will not run for any office whatsoever," and will not stand for the next elections.

"I have learnt lessons from consultations with political parties and I found out that the initiative could not succeed," he indicated, adding "I do not blame anyone and I hold no party responsible for that, but we must stop trading accusations and conflicts because the Tunisian people has had enough," he concluded.

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