June 08, 2011 - TAP - The date of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA)'s election was set for next October 23, Interim Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi announced.
He pledged to work to ensure success of democratic transition and organise free and transparent elections, on the basis of a consensus between all political parties, the Government and the civil society.
Speaking at a meeting held on Wednesday in Tunis, Mr. Caïd Essebsi recalled that the Interim Government had initially chosen July 24 as the date of these election, a date that is according to the High Independent Authority for Elections, can not be complied with, given the time constraints and material, technical and logistic conditions needed to hold free and transparent elections, proposing next October 16 instead.
The election date is not sacred, he said, adding that the most important thing is to reach a consensus around this event, provide conditions for their success and establish a climate of security and stability in the country.
In this regard, Mr. Béji Caïd Essebsi called on political parties and the national media to support the Interim Government's efforts in this difficult phase in the history of Tunisia. He also called on them to contribute to deepen collective awareness and guidance of the public opinion, particularly facing the continuation of strikes and protests and their negative impact on the national economy.
He also spoke about the difficult security conditions the country is living through, due to the situation in border regions and the events in the town of Metlaoui because of tribal conflicts.
Mr. Caïd Essebsi paid tribute to the interior security forces and the National Army for their efforts to restore security, defend the homeland and protect the citizens.
Regarding the situation on the Tunisian-Libyan border, the Interim Prime Minister recalled that Tunisia has so far hosted 471,000 refugees of all nationalities coming from Libya, praising the hospitality of citizens from the border regions.
Mr. Essebsi voiced satisfaction at Tunisia's success in laying the foundations of a democratic system, thanks to the maturity of its people and the role of women in public life.
He stressed the Government's keenness to establish the principle of parity in the National Constituent Assembly which, he described, as a first in the world.
Mr. Caïd Essebsi asserted that the Caretaker Government has endeavoured to comply with the previous government's decisions and commitments, notably regarding the creation of three independent commissions.
He pointed out, in this connection, that the Fact-Finding Commission on Corruption and Embezzlement has so far looked into 7,700 files, and the Fact-Finding Commission on Abuses has already received 1,500 complaints.
He went on reminding that the Political Reform Commission, renamed the High Authority for the Achievement of Revolution Objectives, Political Reform and Democratic Transition, has made important decisions, notably those pertaining to the Electoral Code and devising a roadmap for the next political stage which the Government is seeing to implement in totally consensual legitimacy.
The events which have followed the Revolution, the Prime Minister recalled, have seriously impacted the national economy, tourism and foreign investment, more particularly and weighed heavily on the budget of the State which is striving to carry on subsidising basic consumer goods and fuel.
He highlighted that the Government is compelled, in the meantime, take up a number of other key challenges, such as: wage increases, compensations to be offered to 281 enterprises affected by the crisis and hiring of 700,000 jobless people".
These objectives could not be achieved overnight. They require time, patience and joining of efforts," he explained.
In another connection, Mr. Caïd Essebsi pointed out that his recent participation in the Deauville G8 Summit had provided the opportunity to reassert the Caretaker Government's determination to ensure success of the democratic process and to establish a civil state, especially as the Tunisian Revolution was the spark for the whole region and such a fresh breath that the world has coined the phrase of "Arab Spring".
The Caretaker Prime Minister concluded by urging the attending representatives of political parties and civil society, the media and national figures, to support the Government's efforts, to trust it, not to doubt its intentions and go beyond limited personal considerations, to contribute to the achievement of hoped-for objectives, with the respect of the opposite view and in the service of the nation's higher interest.