The Troika’s three presidents, who can hardly get their act together, each have a different agenda for the next elections.
Mustapha Ben Jaafar, President of the National Constituent Assembly was the first to speak out. He recommended that the elections be held on March 20, 2013, six months after finalizing the draft of the country’s new constitution, anticipated to take place on October 23, 2012.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has recently rejected that day without explaining the reasons for the postponement or suggesting an alternative date. He is probably enjoying his duties and wants to extend his provisional job as chief of government.
As for the provisional President of the Republic, Moncef Marzouki, he thinks it is better that the elections take place earlier than expected.
Current disharmony among the Republic’s leaders is fuelling suspicion and does not help to stabilize the overall situation or save the economy. ‘Tunisia’s political transition will need to be accompanied by rapid economic regeneration if it is to be truly successful’, has commented Chris O’Connor, UK’s Ambassador to Tunisia.
Tunisia’s priority, according to Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt in his speech at a Wilton Park conference in London, is to ensure economic growth and provide jobs for young people; a pressing demand that can be solved in part by developing and investing in regional trade within North Africa, developing the Maghreb’s economic potential and encouraging intra-regional co-operation.
‘A striking feature of North Africa is that its countries each have closer trade links outside the region than within it. Over 70% of their imports and exports are with Europe while only 4% are with each other. But their economies are highly complementary, some with large energy reserves, others with strong service industries, agriculture or industry. Most economists agree that increasing connectivity between these countries would benefit all of them’, added O’Connor.
Meanwhile, Tunisians need to be informed of the government’s roadmap and I think they need to elect a more stable government in the shadow of a comprehensive constitution that guarantees every body’s basic rights, and acts in the direction of encouraging free trade and circulation and developing entrepreneurship.
The original date for holding the elections, October 23, 2012, was previously proposed by former Prime Minister Beji Caid Essebsi. The date was agreed on by at least a dozen political parties who signed a document, including Ennahdha and Ettakatol, two of the parties forming the Troika.