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2011-06-13

Tunisia election dominates blogosphere

By Mona Yahia for Magharebia in Tunis – 13/06/11

As their country is in the midst of an historic transition, Tunisian bloggers ponder the upcoming constituent assembly elections, the deposed president's trial and police practices.

Commenting on the postponement of Tunisia elections until October, Bent El Henchir wrote that "the delay is good" because "new developments have unfolded on the ground with the passage of days, raising alarm".

"What I considered speculation and fear has all but become a reality," she added. "It is the nightmare that haunts honest Tunisians eager for a real break with the forces of corruption and underdevelopment, and for a true democracy achieved through the commitment of all parties to fairness and transparency."

She added, "The first aspect of the nightmare is the attempt by those affiliated with the dissolved [Constitutional Democratic] Rally to return to political activity through the establishment of nearly 30 parties, determined through them to sweep the political arena in different ways in order to have an impact and restore the influence they lost."

"The second aspect of the nightmare is two parties that invoke contradictory slogans: the first described itself as progressive democratic, and the second says it is Islamic, which is called Ennahda movement," the blogger wrote. "But they coincide in practice. They set their sights on power, and set out to use any means whatsoever that will help them to get there."

Not everyone, however, advocates for a decisive break with the past. "Those who dream of a revolution with erected gallows don't recognise international conventions and don't recognise the presumption of innocence," wrote Dr Raja Ben Salama. "They hope to behead all RCD members and hope for popular trials where there is no vote but shouts of an enraged crowd. These people don't want a state of law and institutions."

Blogger Free Tunisian Mind criticised the slowness of the interim government in bringing former ruler Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his wife to trial.

"In view of the indifference of the Tunisian interim government, especially after the many cases that everyone witnessed, such as the cases of Imed Trabelsi and Slim Chiboub .... it became easy to challenge the Tunisians and win any case raised," he wrote. "Here, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is proving this matter and commissioned a lawyer to defend him, despite all the cases that were supposed to be brought forth, as stated in Lebanese newspaper Cedar News."

Lina Ben Mhenni, known as "A Tunisian Girl", recounted how she was subject to harassment in front of the headquarters of the interior ministry when she wanted to support her professor friend who staged a silent protest to find out the truth about Osama Al Achouri, who claimed to have been raped by security servicemen.

Nevertheless, the blogger thanked Tunisian policemen for "some of their good actions". They are "insulted and sometimes harassed but continue to try to establish order", she wrote. "Thank you to all the policemen who try to combat crime and take risks. Thank you to all the policemen who resisted the time of Ben Ali and continue to do so now given that things haven't really changed."

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