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World media comment on President Ben Ali's electoral speech

16 October 2009
TUNIS - The speech President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali delivered at the opening the electoral campaign was broadly covered by the international press which analysed significances of that address and the ambitious objectives set in the Head of State's new electoral platform.

Several written and electronic newspapers underscored throughout the whole week the importance of the Tunisian people's consensus around President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali and around his candidacy for the presidential election, within the intellectual and political circles, and among the various social categories and components of Tunisian society.

Besides, they pointed out that Tunisia is starting a new stage in its development process, counting in this undertaking on its climate of national concord, political stability and social peace, which are fruits of the numerous measures and initiatives taken in the past years and which have helped consolidate the pluralistic democratic process, improve the political landscape and reinforce Tunisians' confidence in the future.

These publications lay also emphasis on the vitality and diversity of Tunisia's political, cultural and social landscape.

In articles illustrated with photos, these publications comment on the opening event of the electoral campaign and devote long columns to list the multitude of achievements accomplished in Tunisia in the various development sectors, pointing out robustness of the bonds tying President Ben Ali and his people.

In an article titled "President Ben Ali Wants Tunisia to Join the Developed Countries," Swiss e-newspaper "lextension.com" takes interest in its October 14, 2009 issue, in the contents of the Head of State's speech at opening of the electoral campaign and analyses the various items of the new presidential platform.

It places emphasis on the main targets set in the address, regarding in particular the reinforcement of political and economic reforms, extension of the sphere of freedoms and democracy and development of media landscape.

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The Head of State's care for low-income categories has drawn attention of this newspaper which reviews the speech's items pertaining to the social area, stressing in another connection the objectives aimed to create more jobs for the benefit of youths and meet the additional job applications during the coming five years.

It emphasises notably the motto adopted by the President of the Republic according to which "no Tunisian family will remain without a job or a source of income for at least one of its members, by the end of 2014" and his plan to increase average per capita income to 7,000 dinars by the end of the five-year term.

The Swiss e-newspaper also writes about President Ben Ali's initiative to create a parliament for youths as a consultative institution aimed to consolidate the foundations of citizenship and reinforce youth's participation in public and political life.

Algerian "L'Expression" newspaper underlines, for its part, in its October 15 issue, that the general elections held in Tunisia have a special meaning, given the specificity of the experience of Tunisia, a country known for its moderation and for the successes it has scored in the fields of democracy and pluralism.

The newspaper highlights the originality of Tunisia's experience in matters of management of public affairs, notably underscoring President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's thorough follow-up of the various sectors and his will to modernise the administration and encourage private initiative and emancipate the enterprise, which allowed Tunisia to take precautionary measures to shield itself from the repercussions of the world economic and financial crisis.

It also comments on President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's bet on human resources, particularly through the consolidation of education, promotion of women's status and improvement of living conditions, which helped Tunisia occupy an advanced position at the Arab world scale, in the different fields.

For its part, Lebanese "Al Mostaqbal" newspaper wrote, in its October 15 issue, that the presidential and legislative elections in Tunisia are important events to consecrate pluralism and democracy in the country.

It elaborates that President Ben Ali's new electoral platform has a comprehensive dimension and contains political, economic, social and cultural aspects whose ultimate target is to improve the citizen's situation and hoist Tunisia to the developed countries' ranks.

It adds that the Tunisian experience in the fields of democracy and development is different from other countries', emphasising, in this connection, President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's serious action aimed to build the state of institutions, in line with a clear vision which is meant to promote the Tunisian experience in the various political and development sectors.

Lebanese "El Anwar" newspaper, of October 15, indicates that the announcement of the creation of an elections observatory in Tunisia evidences the political will to guarantee transparency of the electoral operation at its different stages.

It writes that this initiative is part of gradual approach that Tunisia has adopted, during the last 22 years, to promote the political, social and economic landscape, adding that the legislative, organisational and structural reforms pertaining to the elections are submitted to an actual assessment whose aim is to ensure achieving the targets set.

The newspaper underlines the Head of State's keenness to back up the Observatory's work to help it discharge its mission in total independence and impartiality, to guarantee credibility of the elections, and good progress of voting, as part of abidance by the law and the principles of transparency and sound emulation.

"Al Sayyad" magazine, in its October 16 issue, devotes a special report on elections in Tunisia with a portrait of the President of the Republic for its cover and a headline on the achievements accomplished in Tunisia.

The magazine analyses the reasons behind Tunisian people's cohesion around President Ben Ali, writing notably, that Tunisia has managed in a relatively short period of time to hold a privileged position on the international scene and Tunisians could but be grateful to President Ben Ali.

The magazine adds that President Ben Ali, the Man of social and political reforms, has given himself to interdependent development, in service of all categories of society, which explains Tunisians' attachment to the choices of Ben Ali who saved the country and has been endeavouring to ensure to it a promising future.

Lebanese "Al Liwa" magazine analyses in its October 15 issue President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali's proposals and initiatives aimed to establish a new world order based on co- operation, solidarity and eradication of hotbeds of tension and ensure equality of chances to all peoples of the planet in matters of development.

It emphasises the positive reception of these initiatives among Arab, regional and international authorities, pointing out that President Ben Ali's calls to solidarity originate in the success of the Tunisian experience in this field, as testified to by the UN institutions' reports.

The magazine specifies that the Tunisian development model rests on complementarity between the economic and social dimensions.

For its part, Lebanese "Echourouk" magazine, in its October 15 issue, points to the active role of Tunisian women in the various fields and the privileged position they hold in society, thanks to President Ben Ali's will to promote their rights, reinforce their presence in all sectors and hoist them to the rank of partners in the building of a developed society. The magazine underscores Tunisian women's active participation in the October presidential and legislative elections, pointing up the important number of women among voters as well as candidates.

© Agence Tunis Afrique Presse 2009

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