February 27, 2011
Tunisian PM resigns, more protest deaths
While I am not per se favourable to Ghannouchi, I am worried by
Police Break Up Demonstrations in Tunis | Africa | English
Tunisia's interim Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi has announced his resignation, saying he hopes it will "help his successor work to solve the country's problems." The resignation was announced as police clashed with protesters, a day after three people were killed in anti-government protests.
While the desire to "cleanse" the government of anyone associated with Ben Ali is an understandable one, it is not - as Iraq showed - necessarily a good one in the short term. The technocrats with a mastery of issues, etc. are needed to help transition things, and further if all the people associated with Ben Ali are unceremoniously excluded, the options of destabilisation begins to look better for them.
Most of the issues Tunisia faces are ones needing long-term effort, removing faces is not going to create jobs, solve corruption nor allow policy stability to get the economy restarted. NOR will it allow the opposition to build proper political networks.
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I agree with that too.
1) Although Ghannouchi's departure is good, it should have been more orderly (like having a known replacement first).
2) You definitely can't exclude anyone who was an RCD card carrying member. However those known for plain corruption or have blood on their hands should be out. Those who were closely related to the Ben Ali family (as opposed to mere technocrats) or their most zealed servants should also be out. One of the major issues that weakened this government's legitimacy is that there were plenty of these at about every level, not just as people who hadn't been cleaned up yet, but as people who were actively kept in their office post Jan. 14.
Tunisia is right now on the brink of chaos. Order should be restored, and there's a very fine line between ensuring order while taking the country to democratic elections and restoring dictatorship. To sum up, Tunisia is back to 1986.