24 February 2014

Tunisia: Marzouki - Tunisia Must Have an Elected President and Prime Minister By Next September

Tunis — Caretaker president Moncef Marzouki affirmed, in a TV interview on Sunday evening, the need to speed up the organization of presidential, parliamentary and local elections so as to hold them before the end of the current year, saying that the completion of the election process « will spare Tunisia the terrorist threat and boost its economy ».

« Tunisia must have an elected president and prime minister by next September and local elections should be held between next October and November », he said in an interview broadcast on Sunday evening on national Wataniya 1 channel.

Marzouki affirmed support to Mehdi Jomaa's cabinet because « its success is Tunisia's », stressing that its chief mission consists in leading us to elections and not in restructuring government institutions.

He also said he had conveyed a message to interim PM Mehdi Jomaa, inviting him to provide the election body with all state resources to hold the elections as soon as possible. Asked if he was running for the presidential election, Marzouki answered that « he will carry on his mission as president until the end ».

« Why should I resign to enter into an election campaign? Who would then be the next president for three or four months? », he argued.

Marzouki affirmed that his mission is to preserve the country's stability, keep on dealing with the issues of the army and security, promote the country's foreign image and boost the national dialogue between the political players.

« I will carry on my mission until the promulgation of the election law and the clarification of the political scene », he said, adding « I will then decide if I should run for the presidential election because I am perfectly entitled to run».

As regards the revision of appointments, the president reckoned it is a complex issue which is not less important than reviewing the situation of enterprises and banks on the verge of bankruptcy.

Jomaa's cabinet is not able to solve all problems and settle all issues, he declared. Speaking of terrorism, Marzouki said he believed that dealing with this issue should not be limited to the security field but must be dealt with its root causes through eradicating poverty, reducing unemployment and banishing marginalization.

Besides, he denied the fact that the Troïka and more particularly Ennahdha party had provided a political cover to terrorism, adding that security forces had spared no effort to contain this scourge.

Speaking of Tunisia's foreign policy, Marzouki announced that PM Mehdi Jomaa will leave for Washington next April 4 at the invitation of US president Barack Obama.

As to Tunisia's stand towards the development of the situation in Syria and Egypt, Marzouki said he is in favour of dialogue and understanding between the antagonists in the two countries, adding that « dialogue is the way to settle political crises ».

The president also condemned the involvement of Tunisian youths in fights between armed groups in Syria, announcing that the national Security Council and the justice ministry had started to think about finding formulas to secure the return of « those who have been manipulated ».

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