Monday, January 24, 2011

Senior Tunisian politicians form 'revolutionary council' that will take over tasks from government

Consultations are since a few days underway in Tunisia about the formation of a 'Constitutional Council' that  can oversee the working of the transitional government and adopt a number of it tasks. The talks take place at the initiative of three senior politicians, who started their work after having consulted interim president Mebazaa, Tunisian radio Kalimaat reported.
  The three politicans are Ahmed Mestiri, a former minister of Justice under president Bourguiba, and two other ex-ministers from that periode, Ahmed Bensalah et Mostafa El Filali. The three, who haven't been active in the poltical arena since a long time,  are holding talks with opposition parties, the trade union UGTT, independent politicans, Human Rights organizations, the bar association and others who have been active during the revolt that chased away president Ben Ali.
Reuters adds: Sihem Bensedrine (photo), a prominent rights activist and head of the non-governmental National Council for Liberties, said an announcement on the new council could come any day.'We are negotiating with the transitional government. We had contacts with some ministers in the new government and head of the committee for political reform,' she said, referring to a committee created by the government to revise Tunisia's laws to allow free elections and prevent the rise of a new strongman. "The idea is to create a kind of council for safeguarding the revolution.'
Bensedrine said Ben Ali's rubber-stamp parliament would be dissolved under the new plan, and the council would be given the power to supervise the interim government, which could retain Ghannouchi as prime minister.
The council would issue an electoral code and hold elections for a basic parliament that would rewrite the constitution. It would include Tunisia's powerful labor union, the bar association, civil society groups and political parties including Ennahda, the country's largest Islamist group, which was banned under Ben Ali.
Tunisia's army chief, Rachid Ammar,  on Monday also vowed to 'defend the revolution' that ousted former president Ben Ali. And he warned of a 'power vacuum' that may result if a solution to the subsequent political crisis is not found.
Ammar, who became popular after he was sacked by Ben Ali for refusing to shoot at protsters,  made the comments after clashes broke out in Tunis between people demonstrating outside the prime minister's office, who clashed with the police after they satretd to throw stones. "Our revolution, your revolution, the revolution of the young, risks being lost,''Ammar said. 'There are forces that are calling for a void, a power vacuum. The void brings terror, which brings dictatorship.'

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