Tunisians received Hamadi Jebali’s last speech as prime minister Thursday night with a mixture of emotions, including disappointment, respect, and uncertainty.
Lazhar Lakremi, spokesperson for Nidaa Tounes, accused Jebali for failing to reveal exactly who was responsible for his failure to create a non-political, technocratic government.
“Jebali delivered a shallow speech … what he did was merely polishing his image for his political future, and running away from condemning those who are really responsible for the failure of the government and implementing his suggestion,” Lakermi said.
Mouldi El Fehem, spokesperson for Al Joumhouri, told Tunisia Live that “Ennahdha has just lost Jebali, as he is a moderate politician.”
From Fehem’s point of view, Jebali’s apology during the speech was actually a condemnation of his party, which has blocked his plan.
“There was no other plan, as it wasn’t just a game, it was the only way out.” he said. “I support him despite all the conflicts that we have reached, but reality has to be stated. Jebali has put his name forward as a man of state who handles tough situations.”
Zoubeir Chehoudi, member of Ennahdha’s Shura Council, expressed his respect for Jebali, calling his speech “responsible,” and asserting that Ennahdha will never lose the former prime minister.
Jebali’s Thursday night resignation speech was composed of three main parts: he gave explanations, assigned blame for the current situation in the country, and offered sincere apologies to citizens.
Jebali explained that after the revolution there were both successes and failures, and the failures led him to believe that a technocratic government was the best way to save the country.
His vision had been to form a government of competencies that would care for the well being of Tunisians and provide them with basic needs such as employment, price stability, security, and prosperity.
Jebali said that Ennahdha offered to let him continue as prime minister, but he felt he could not do so after failing to gain support for his technocratic government initiative.
Jebali said he held himself responsible for the country’s current state, but also said that government, political parties, and social groups all played a role as well.
He claimed media had played on Tunisians’ nerves and “put gas on the fire;” moreover, he said labor groups should refrain from holding strikes and demanding wages.
“Our economy is fragile and it can’t stand all this,” Jebali said.
Citizens also must be held accountable, he said, and must work hand in hand to find a way out of the current negativity.
Jebali apologized for disappointing the high hopes of Tunisians, and for not meeting their expectations. He also apologized for any harm he may have caused citizens through his words or actions.
Yet he ended his speech on a positive note: “I am optimistic because we are a great nation and I have faith in Tunisians to reach the needed consensus soon.”