Tunisia: For a Constitutional Assembly to Lay the Foundations of a Democratic Republic
by Hamma Hammami

1. The success achieved so far is only half the way, and the other half is achieving the desired democratic change and implementing it on the ground.

2. Democratic change cannot spring from the same party, figures, institutions, apparatuses, and legislations that maintained the dictatorship and deprived the people of basic rights for more than half a century, 23 years of which under Ben Ali.

3. Interim President Fouad Mebazaa is one of Ben Ali's clique and the president of an appointed body which does not represent the people in any way whatsoever, and the plan to hold presidential elections in 45-60 days has no purpose but to ensure the continuity of the dictatorial regime through one of its former leaders.

4. The most dangerous thing that could happen now is robbing the Tunisian people of their victory, circumventing their legitimate aspirations for freedom and a dignified existence and disregarding their sacrifices, by preserving Ben Ali's regime without Ben Ali and creating a new democratic façade around it.

5. Democratic change, with all its political, economic, social, and cultural dimensions, demands putting a real end to the repressive regime by taking a direct step to form a provisional government or any other body with executive powers and to undertake the task of organizing free elections for a Constitutional Assembly which would establish the foundations of a real democratic republic in which the people would enjoy freedom, social equality, and national dignity.

6. All the forces that have played an effective and decisive role in toppling the dictator, whether they are political organizations, trade unions, human rights groups, or cultural organizations, organized or unorganized, as well as the people in general, have the task of deciding Tunisia's future, and no party or entity could supplant them in their negotiations or communications with the authority.

7. It is urgent that the democratic forces form a national and unified body to carry out democratic change, charged with the tasks of protecting the gains of the insurgent Tunisian people and of negotiating with the authority so the latter will peacefully yield power to the people.

8. All the democratic forces across the country must unite their ranks in organizations, committees, or local, regional, and sectorial councils in organizing the popular movement, in order to undermine the maneuvers of the forces of reaction and to stop the acts of looting and vandalism perpetrated by hidden groups seeking to spread fear among citizens, to threaten their safety, and to frighten them of democratic change so as to compel the people to surrender to the repressive apparatuses.

9. The armed forces, which consists in the main of the sons and daughters of the people, are asked to preserve security for the people and for the motherland and to respect the people's choices and aspirations for freedom, dignity, and social justice, which requires lifting the state of emergency as soon as possible so that it doesn't become an excuse that prevents the Tunisian people from continuing their struggle and achieving their goals.

For a provisional government

For a constitutional assembly

For a democratic republic

Hamma Hammami
Tunisian Communist Workers Party
Tunisia, 15 January 2011

The original statement in Arabic is available at the Web site of the Tunisian Communist Workers Party: <>.  Adapted from Nadim Mahjoub's translation.
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