lördag 30 juni 2012

Tunisia-debate, My speech

I samband med debatten och rapporten om Tunisien i Europarådets Parlamentariska Församling. Ben Jaafar såväl närvande som avslutade debatten, höll jag ett inlägg. Se nedan, det talade ordet gäller. Vill understryka att vi inte får glömma att den gamla makten, från diktatorns Ben Alis tid till stor del finns kvar.

The challenges common to the whole region are the transition to democracy, economic development and the future of the younger generation. One of the greatest challenges in Tunisia is the new Constitution. Khelil Ezzaouia, Minister for Social Affairs and Member of the National Board of the Tunisian Ettakatol/FDTL Party, said that in one or two years Tunisia needs to have finalised how the process towards democracy is going to work. The Constitution must first be finalised and then it has to be voted in with a 2/3 majority.

 The Roadmap of Reforms that Tunisia has to follow contains four steps: 1) constitutional reform, 2) democratisation of electoral law, 3) a parliamentary commission to monitor elections, and 4) a law on political parties, in order to promote diversity. And as far as parliamentary elections are concerned, Tunisia is in a unique situation, since the Arab spring is generally considered to have originated in Tunisia, and the country is now regarded as (one of) the most progressive in the region. Since November 2011 a new press code has been in force in Tunisia.

Even though the Islamists have said that “there is no place for Sharia in the Constitution”, other voices are also to be heard. Tunisia  needs to have an open dialogue on economic, political and social issues.

A challenge for the entire Arab world is “how to bring the social element in society more into line with the values of democracy and closer to secularity”. Salafism, or radical Islamism, is also one of the challenges facing Tunisia today, ,and ,we hope that “we can find ways to eradicate this”. There is also concern that developments in Tunisia can be influenced by the current unrest to the south of the country - a problem that we are sure to return to even though it is outside the geographical area covered by the Council of Europe.

Some of the conclusions in Tunis were that the Arab world still has a long way to go and the fight for human rights, peace and justice continues. Europe has to support this process and assist the region, particularly in view of the fact that there is a common interest from both sides. There are still many challenges that remain and although they might seem the same in each of the countries, they do differ.. Tunisia can serve as an example for the whole region. /CH