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Africa

Women's rights 'guaranteed' says Tunisian PM

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2011-12-15

Hamadi Jebali, the secretary general of Tunisia’s moderate Islamist party Ennahda, spoke to FRANCE 24 on Wednesday as he was officially named the country’s new prime minister. He is now tasked with forming a government.

Just a day after being sworn in as Tunisia’s new president, Moncef Marzouki announced his new Prime Minister would be 62-year-old Hamadi Jebali.

His appointment signified a dramatic turn around in fortunes for Jebali who in 1992 was jailed along with other members of his Ennahda party, accused of attempting to overthrow the previous regime of President Ben Ali. He spent 15 years behind bars before being released in 2006.
 
Jebali, the secretary general of Ennahda, now has the job of selecting the members of his cabinet, who will be charged with leading Tunisia into a new era.
 
Ennahda, which had been banned under Ben Ali were victors in October’s national elections after winning 89 seats in the 217-member constituent assembly. October’s historic ballot came months after mass protests across the country helped to topple Ben Ali in January and sparked popular revolts across the Arab world.
 
Jebali’s nomination as prime minister was part of a power-sharing deal reached with President Marzouki’s Congress for the Republic Party, which came second in the elections, and the centre left party Ettakatol.
 
With the tremors of the revolution still rippling through the country and former dictator Ben Ali avoiding justice by hiding out in Saudi Arabia, Jebali and his government have their work cut out.
 
On Wednesday he spoke exclusively to FRANCE 24 about the tasks that lie ahead.
 
FRANCE 24: Recently there has been demonstrations in your country to protest that the rights of women risk are being jeopardised. What can you say to reassure the demonstrators?
 
Hemadi Jebali: “There is no reason to worry. I can guarantee that Ennahda will be at the forefront of the fight to guarantee women’s rights in all fields – politically, socially and professionally.  The members of the coalition government and primarily Ennahda will affirm the rights of women through the constitution, through legislation and above all through our actions.”
 
FRANCE 24: The former president Ben Ali who sought refuge in Saudi Arabia is currently being tried in his absence in Tunisia. Do you fear a fallout with Riyadh by demanding his extradition?
 
Hamadi Jebali: “This affair is in the hands of the legal process. We do not want to damage our relations with Saudi Arabia. We have had a democratic revolution and we now want to build new relations with the Gulf nations like Saudi Arabia. It is important to keep the two processes separate. There are ongoing legal proceedings against the former President but at the same time we intend to build relations with our Saudi brothers."
 
FRANCE 24: Will the victims of Ben Ali’s regime be compensated?
 
Hamadi Jebali: “This is going to be the first thing that we will take care of. It will involve all the victims of the previous regime throughout its reign and obviously those who were martyred or injured during the revolution. We are going to create a committee to investigate all the acts of torture and repression. The revolution must pay back those who sacrificed their lives, their health and their family.”

 

Date created : 2011-12-14

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