Exclusive: Tunisian PM on the country's 'new, positive vibe'
In an exclusive interview with FRANCE 24, Mohamed Ghannouchi, prime minister of the Tunisian national unity government, said the ministers remaining from the Ben Ali regime always acted in Tunisia's best interest.
Just after announcing the members of his new transitional government on Monday, Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi was interviewed by FRANCE 24. Ghannouchi discussed the details of a phone conversation that he had with ousted President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali on Saturday, the day after Ben Ali's departure from Tunisia. The head of the new national unity government also addressed the early years of the Ben Ali regime.
"The day after Ben Ali left, I was sitting here when the phone rang. I realised it was former president Ben Ali who was calling. My upbringing wouldn’t let me ignore the call. I explained to him everything that happened in the country, [about] this dangerous situation, whether it is the looting of public money or the feeling among Tunisians that there is no longer a place for him in the country."
"He accomplished a lot of things in the early years. In the beginning we achieved a lot, thanks to the skills of the ministers and the involvement of everybody. And it was acknowledged by the international organisations. We achieved a lot economically, but in a suffocating atmosphere, in a climate of fear, in a climate where one can’t take the initiative -- all the decisions were already made."
"We need to avoid a witch hunt and encourage national reconciliation. The ministers who are part of the new team are determined and engaged to create this transition. There's a new, positive vibe now. Many ministers, who were already part of the previous government under the former president, did all they could to fight for the general interest."