News / Africa

Previous Tunisia Regime Called 'a Gang of Saboteurs'

Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi speaks during a press conference on March 4, 2011 in Tunis
Tunisian Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi speaks during a press conference on March 4, 2011 in Tunis

Tunisia's new Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi has called the country's previous administration " a gang of saboteurs" and promised to name new government by Sunday.

Essebsi spoke to reporters Friday in Tunis. He said he and his co-workers are working with "a popular revolution that does not have a framework." He said those who would like to leave the country may do so, but people who would like to stay and work are welcome.

Thursday, Tunisia's interim president, Fouad Mebazza, said the country will vote July 24 to elect a council that will rewrite the constitution and chart the country's transition following the ouster of leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

In a televised address late Thursday, President Mebazaa  said the current constitution "does not meet the aspirations of the people after the revolution" and that the country is entering "a new political system that definitively breaks with the former regime."

He also said a group made up of national figures and political representatives will write a new electoral code by the end of March to handle the council vote. The Reuters news agency reported that once elected, the constituent council could either appoint a new government or ask the current executive to carry on until presidential or parliamentary elections are held.

Protesters have kept up pressure since Ben Ali's fall, demanding a timetable for constitutional reform and elections, as well as a government free of former regime members. Violence on February 26 led to the deaths of at least five people in the capital, Tunis.

Six high-profile members of the caretaker government, including former prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, have stepped down since Sunday as demonstrators vent their anger at the slow pace of change since Ben Ali's departure.

The Tunisian protests touched off anti-government demonstrations in Egypt, Libya, Yemen, Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Algeria, Morocco, Iran and Iraq.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.

 

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