26. Okt. 2011
En Nahda is very diverse and includes many people, who respect the modern conception of human rights and democracy, where religion is understood as a private issue and has to be separated from politics and the state
Your impressions from this first Tunisian democratic rendez-vous with history. Do you think that the average Tunisians know what is the real democracy?
Absolutely. For the first time in their history they could vote in a free and fair election and they have for the first time ever a political powerful institution which is legal and legitimate. And what is even more remarkable: The Tunisians made at the end of the year a real citizen driven revolution and managed to create a commission which worked so wisely, inclusive and convincingly that they elaborated several laws which allowed a process and a election which was not questioned by anybody but followed by more than 90% of the citizens. And the pride and dignity how they did it showed all of us that most Tunisians not only know what democracy is, they also managed to realise and practise it in a way which all of us can only admire.
More than 100 parties took part in this first elections. Is such big choice good for democracy?
It was very good idea of the above mentioned commission which managed in such a careful way the way from the revolution to a legitimate, democratic new political order to decentralise the power and to invite all interested small and bi parties, groups and independent candidate to take part in the first democratic competition ever and to stand as candidate for elections. This contributed very much to the legitimacy of the process. -- Sunday it was also clear the most of the voters could make a good choice and were neither lost in between the 80 parties which were on the list in Karthago, where I did observe the election, nor that the whole electorate did split their votes in a way that there are also clear groups in the National Constitutional Assembly (NCA) with clear tendencies. -- So this too was a real and great contribution for a inclusive, legitimate and democratic process.
The winner is islamic party En Nahda. Is their leader Rachid Ghannouchi really so strong? Some Tunisians protested against him during elections. Did you meet him? What's your impression about him? Do they really try to follow the model of Turkey AKP?
First, the winner of these elections are the Tunisian people. They gave their revolution the democratic legitimacy it needed to get a legal institution. -- Second: You have to be careful with the term Islamic. En Nahda, Renaissance in English/French, is a party which respects the religion of Islam as the Christian Democratic Party does it with the Christian religion. Islamic is too close to islamistic which is close to violence and extremis and not very democratic. -- Thirdly: Rachid Ghannouchi has a great credibility because he was a victim of the antiislamic dictator and had to wait in exile until the revolution allowed him to come back in his country. Ghannouchi made a big mistake when he wanted to bypass the queue before the Polling station which would have made him wait two hours until he can cast his vote. This was a habit of dictators which today many Tunisians do not accept this any more and they showed him this. -- Forthly: We have to be very careful when we want to analyse and understand the Renaissance-Party. It is very diverse and includes many people, who respect the modern conception of human rights and democracy, where the religion is understood as a private issue and has to be separated from politics and the state. We met in our pre-election mission a representative of En Nahda who answered questions from us in this way in a really satisfying manor. And he was one of those who mentioned the AKP as well as the CDU and the CSU of Bayern as their role models they want to follow. -- Fifthly: The Muslim religion is a part of the Tunisian culture as the mountains for Slovenia and Switzerland. When we would have a dictator who does not allow us to climb this mountains for 30 years, I am sure, that when this dictator is out posted by a revolution everybody in Slovenia and Switzerland wanted to climb all the mountains in the same moment. In a dictatorship you can not learn to behave and design politics wisely! That’s why a representative of En Nahda interpreted the success of his party as a expression of a new beginning and the will of many to do so. -- So we have to try do understand, why this party was supported really and in second phase we have to give the movement to show its diversity and be open to a common learning process which even allow people of the party who’s old intention was to ignore basic elements of the modern state, the human rights, the rule of law and democracy to learn to do so.
What's the next step? Writing the new Constitution? With the help of Coe in Venice Commission? Will Tunis ask for Partnership for Democracy status?
The NCA is much more than a Constitution making body. They are the first and the only one who have got legal and legitimate power since the Revolution. That’s why the do not only prepare in one year a new Constitution, but also elect until this constitution allows new popular elections for a new parliament and a new president elect themselves in the coming weeks a new government and a new president. The PACE offered the NCA all our support the would like to have from us and the Venice Commission. We hope also that they or the forthcoming Parliament are interested in a partnership for Democracy I would immediately support.
EU was surprised by events on the other side of Mediterranean. How can Europe help new democratic movements in Arab world? NATO is probably not the solution like in Libya case?
Your are right, although I am not sure, that in Syria we should not think about it under the mandate of the SC of the UN. You are also right that the EU did not react adequately to the Arab spring – this reflects the own crises of democracy in Europe which does not allow al lot of Europeans to understand really new democratic movements and revolutions and to be happy with them. The PACE did better. We have to support these movements and country in every possible way. Today we should also encourage investments in Tunisia because the economic development is the perspective the consolidation of democracy needs most. And do not forget that the revolution only happened because among the several hundred thousand of unemployed people you have nearly 200’000 with a university degree. This shows how much potential this country has and how much use it could be for investors!
Tell me please your short opinion about Swiss elections. Any positive trends? Any surprises? What about your party?
The Swiss election results are better than I was afraid of. For the first time in 20 years the national-conservative big rightwing party was stopped and lost three percent of the votes and nine seats. The social-democrats won four seats, but lost one percent and as second largest party only have 19% of the electorate; unfortunately the greens lost even more seats, so that the progressive part of the spectrum stagnated. The losers were the two oldest centre parties of Switzerland (Christians and Liberals) which lost to two new centre parties which are more green but as fiscal and socially conservative as the others. So in the new Parliament the centre is stronger than before which is already a small hopeful element for the future. How much hope is possible we will see mid December when the new parliament is electing the new government.