Tunisia’s Jebali takes up duties amid growing disapproval

From revolution’s euphoria to disillusionment

TUNIS - Tunisia's new Prime Minister, Islamist Hamadi Jebali, on Monday took up his duties amid a growing disappointment, and an increasing disapproval on the part of many Tunisians.
"I promise to our people that this government will be at its service and shall give an example with clean hands, transparency and good governance," Jebali said when he took over from Beji Caid Essebsi.
"This transition of powers reflects the finest image of our country and of our revolution," Jebali said, referring to the uprising that led to the fall of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali last January 14.
Jebali thanked Essebsi and his interim gouvernement notably for having organised the North African country's first free and democratic elections on October 23.
Tunisians have been recently voicing a growing disappointment, and a mounting disapproval of Ennahda’s new government.
Rafik Abdessalem Bouchleka’s (Rached Ghanouchi’s son in law) assignment as the Minister of Foreign Affairs evoked a wave of sarcasm among Tunisians.
These sentiments were conveyed in Bendir Man’s (a Tunisia song-writer known for the political satire he evokes in his lyrics) song in which he sings, “Ghannouchi I will be a minister, will you let me marry your daughter?”
Tunisian blogger and symbol of the revolution, Lina Ben Mhenni thinks Tunisia will start to demonstrate again one year after the beginning of the revolution.
''One year ago people in Tunisia demonstrated to ask for social and economic reforms and for more freedom, not for another government that tells us how to be good Muslims,'' she said, referring to the Ennahda Islamic party that won the elections in October.
''On the outside it looks like a moderate party, but the truth is different,'' she explains: instead of responding to the demands of the Tunisians ''who have sacrificed their lives for freedom, the Constituent Assembly is discussing non-existent problems like identity or the niqab."
And ''people are already organising sit-ins and demonstrations: Ennahda has promised 600 thousand jobs in two years and people are now claiming what was promised for their vote,'' Ben Mhenni added.
Moreover, ''articles that criticise Ennahda,'' the moderate Islamic party in the Tunisian government, ''have started to disappear'' from the social networks and blogs.
As regards to the other media, newspapers and television, ''the situation has not changed from the period under Ben Ali'', the President who was ousted in the Tunisian Spring, added the activist.
''Before the elections everybody could say what they wanted, now the lies and manipulations of the truth are back: the media sing praise to the new President and the new power."
Recent reports have reiterated the severity of the economic slump the country is currently enduring on the national level. Foreign investment in Tunisia dropped by a substantial 20.5% during the past 11 months.
Additionally, 153 foreign ventures have ceased their activities in the country over the course of last year. To make matters worse, 1.13 million TD have been lost from the tourism sector due to a drop in profits by 33.7% between January and December of 2011.
These figures highlight the magnitude of the deficit in foreign confidence regarding the Tunisian economy.