Tunisia: "everyone is promising everything"

Submitted by Matthew on 1 June, 2011 - 10:35

Oussama, of Ligue de la Gauche Ouvrière (LGO, Workers’ Left League) in Tunisia, spoke to Ed Maltby.


At its first meeting, the Haute Instance — the body overseeing Tunisia’s first open election — decided to put back the provisional date of 24 July.

This was for a purely technical and logistical reason. The new [provisional] date is 16 October.

The League were for moving back the date. There are other parties still in favour of 24 July, like Ennahda [Islamist party], and the Progressive Democratic Party, who are still contesting the decision.

These parties are ready for the elections. They have the money and so on. They worry that, as more time elapses, more political parties will be formed. On the other hand, left parties such as the LGO and the Parti Communiste Ouvrier Tunisien think the October election will allow us to better organise ourselves and that it is better for democracy. There will be less chance for the old guard to subvert the elections.

Tomorrow there will be a meeting to announce a “centre left” electoral pact between a dozen “leftwing” parties such as the labour-patriots. We are not part of that coalition. There is also a centrist, liberal coalition.

I fear that the revolutionary process, which is still in train, will be upset by electoral machinations

There are many political parties. People in the cafes and the streets do not know who to orientate themselves towards. Everyone has roughly similar programmes, everyone is promising everything: prosperity, democracy...

This unelected, illegitimate provisional government has just contracted more debt from the G8 and IMF; at the same time they refuse to negotiate with striking refuse workers (in Tunis), directing the refuse workers towards a future, elected government.

We are looking at events in Europe, in Spain, France and Greece, and saying that this process which is in train is a worldwide revolutionary process. It’s up to us to work, to fight, to adopt positions which are correct and clear.

There are some strikes, some demonstrations around economic demands — people see that their situation has actually become worse than before. There are anti-unemployment demonstrations. There are also protest movements of refugees in the south of Tunisia where people are still living in tents.

There are movements of temporary-contracted workers demanding that they be taken on as permanent workers.

Other strikes are short; strikers block roads, demonstrate, and then go back to work. They are rapid, stop-starting movements.

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