What was your wish for the future of your country when you acceded to Presidency?
I have lived long years of exile in a number of countries, where I have seen the standard of living and the level of intellectual and artistic development, and I realised that the driving force behind all this was freedom. Freedom is probably the most precious thing in the world, and my greatest wish was to see my country attain that freedom, which transforms subjects into citizens and allows all the potentialities of our people to be realised. I feel very fortunate to have lived to see this dream come true.
What is your assessment of the current challenges for the Revolution?
The revolution is a process that can take several years. Tunisians have been unshackled from fear. Overnight these frightened, intimidated beings, who despised themselves, have found themselves free. In a few months Tunisians have acquired what Westerners have enjoyed for centuries: freedom of expression, circulation and association, and access to free elections.
This transformation calls for a social and economic rebalancing, that is to say, a more equitable distribution of the fruit of our work. This process is long and complex since it faces the onslaught of all the dispossessed aristocracies, which do not disappear from one day to the next and which will plot to stage a counterrevolution. We intend to thwart this harmful counterrevolution through politics and not with oppressive measures.
It is a painful process, but Tunisia is definitely on track towards becoming a stable, democratic state enjoying a welfare society. It will take years, and it faces all the risks of failure inherent to any human project, but we are making progress towards that goal.
What will the new Tunisia offer to investors?
Tunisia does not need charity. We want partners for good investments in a win-win relationship. We will offer laws facilitating investment, reduced bureaucracy and a serious fight against corruption. Up to now investors were bled by corruption, and that is something that will no longer happen. Investors should also have a sense of social purpose. We want them to help bring down unemployment. It is important to reinforce democracy and human rights in this country, ensuring that it does not fall prey to terrorism caused by poverty.