“First and foremost, we want a complete break with the past.”
With these words Tunisia’s interim president Fouad Mebazza spoke to the nation on Wednesday night, and in another sign of the changing times the last political prisoners remaining in jail were freed.
After five days of disorder a national unity government has yet to be formed, and efforts to coax opposition figures in have mostly failed.
Television also showed some of the hoard of valuables confiscated from the Ben Ali clan, of which 33 members have been arrested for crimes against the nation. One opposition figure is now the development minister.
Ahmed Najib Chebbi told euronews: “Where does credibility come from? Two elements: the composition of the government and what they are doing. The ministers who were part of the former government or of the ruling party were excluded from the political circle which was in fact in the hand of only one person, Ben Ali, and his close counsellors in Carthage.
“We have always been asking for the government to have a key role in the decisions – but this was not the case.“
The Tunisian people may find that sort of information hard to take, and condemn by association all those linked to the former regime. For the moment they have tasted ‘people power’, appear ready to brave the curfew in Tunis, and seem unwilling to easily give up the ground they have won.
Interim president seeks to reassure Tunisians