In the first video in a three-part series, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim dives deep into the issues surrounding the Kajang by-election.
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim Di Sambutan Tahun Baru Cina 2014 di Wilayah Persekutuan, KL
|1||Lembah Pantai||Jalan Sentosa 8A, Tmn Sri Sentosa, Perkarangan Pejabat Khidmat MP Lembah Pantai, K.L||
|2||Bandar Tun Razak||Padang Awam, Flat Sri Johor, Bandar Tun Razak, K.L||
|3||Batu||Jalan 2/18B, Taman Batu Permai, Batu 5, Jalan Ipoh, K.L||
|4||Setiawangsa||Jalan Rejang 6, Taman Desa Rejang, Setiawangsa||
|5||Wangsa Maju||Blok E2, Seksyen 2, Wangsa Maju, K.L (Lokasi adalah berhampiran Hospital Sultan Mizan||
PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
A protest with the blood of chickens smeared on images of opposition leaders and a call for violence against DAP’s Teresa Kok were evidence of the brewing communal friction that necessitated the “Kajang Move”, Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said yesterday.
“What kind of Muslims condone the action of slapping YB Teresa Kok? On one hand you mention the name ‘Allah’ and after that you spew hatred, evil from your mouths and actions.
“I ask you, how is that Islamic?” Anwar said when denouncing the Muslim groups during a ceramah session here last night.
Yesterday, the Malay group slaughtered live chickens in their protest against a satirical Chinese New Year video by Kok, after which they proceeded to smear the blood on a banner with images of DAP and PKR lawmakers.
The banner also warned of “nightmares” of May 13, 1969, in reference to the bloody racial riots of that year.
The group also offered cash rewards for anyone who is successful in physically assaulting the Seputeh MP and captures the attack in photographs, dangling as much as RM1,200 as incentive for the act.
Anwar said that a proper adherent of Islam would know that the religion valued justice, care and compassion above all else.
“Threatening people with violence, these are not actual Muslims,” he added.
DAP and PKR leaders have since demanded that the police investigate the matter and those responsible be charged.
Kok and other Pakatan Rakyat (PR) members will lodge a police report over the matter today.
She came under fire after releasing an 11-minute long video lampooning current affairs in Malaysia.
Anwar will contest in the Kajang by-election that was triggered by the unforced resignation of PKR assemblyman Lee Chin Cheh last week.
Although suspected to be the result of an internal PKR power struggle, the party sought to explain that the so-called “Kajang Move” was required by a purported attempt to use racial and religious issues to cripple the PR administration in Selangor, which is now led by second-term mentri besar Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.
Program Turun Padang Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim di DUN Kajang
5 – 9 Februari 2014 (Rabu – Sabtu)
5 Feb – Rabu
1. 5.00 – 7.00 ptg – Hi-Tea – Pusat Khidmat Komuniti
DUN Kajang, Taman Sg Sekamat
2. 7.30 – 8.30 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib –
Surau Taman Muhibah, Kajang
3. 9.00 – 12.00 mlm – Ceramah Perdana –
Depan Surau At-Taqwa, Taman Kajang Baru,
6 Feb – Khamis
1. 5.00 – 7.00 ptg – Hi-Tea – Pusat Komuniti
Kg. Sungai Kantan
2. 7.30 – 8.30 mlm – Solat, Solat Hajat & Tazkirah –
Surau An-Nur, Tmn Kantan Permai
3. 9.00 mlm – Bersama komuniti India di Pusat Komuniti Sg Kantan
4. 10.00 mlm – Pelancaran Jentera Wanita di Tmn Prima Saujana
5. 11.00 mlm – Ceramah Perdana –
Taman Koperasi Cuepac
7 Feb – Jumaat
1. 12.30 – 2.00 ptg – Solat Jumaat & Jamuan Rakyat –
Masjid Jamek Kajang
2. 5.00 – 7.00 mlm – Hi-Tea – Pusat JKKK Batu 13,
Tmn Delima, Bt 13 Jln Cheras
3. 7.30 – 8.30 mlm – Solat & Tazkirah Maghrib –
Surau At Taqwa, Tmn Kota Cheras Fasa 2
4. 7.30 – 11.00 mlm – Chinese Dinner –
Shuang Xi Lou Chinese Restaurant, Metro Kajang
5. 8.30 – 12.00 mlm – Pelancaran Jentera Pilihanraya
PRK Kajang – Dataran Prima Saujana, Kajang
8 Feb – Sabtu
1. 9.00 – 12.00 mlm – Kuliah Dato’ Ustaz Siddiq Fadzil
Kolej Universiti Dar Al Hikmah,
Sungai Ramal Dalam
9 Feb – Ahad
1. 11.30 – 12.30 tghari – Sambutan Tahun Baru Cina –
Dong Zhou Zong
New Era College, Kajang
PEJABAT DATO’ SERI ANWAR IBRAHIM
The first person that visitors to the PKR headquarters would meet is mustachioed security guard Balu, who usually stands at the entrance of the building in the high-end neighbourhood of Tropicana, Selangor.
Although he has a seat in the information booth, Balu cannot help but crack a joke when asked why PKR has not provided him a chair: “In this party, the biggest problem is seats.”
In the latest episode, the seat in question is the post of Selangor menteri besar, with the ‘Kajang Move’ being seen as a way to unseat Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and replace him with PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim.
A consummate politician, Anwar who is contesting the Kajang by-election in a bid to enter the state legislative assembly, insisted on prefacing his plans with the word ‘If’.
“If I become MB,” he said, raising his voice on ‘if’, “it will be until I become prime minister.”
His meeting with Malaysiakini yesterday was sandwiched between a long list of media interviews, and even his cheery pink candy-stripe shirt did not mask the shadow of fatigue on his face.
Still, fatigue cannot push a seasoned player like Anwar to say what he should not – that the MB’s post is merely a stepping stone and Khalid another pawn to be toppled on the longer route to the premiership.
Instead, Anwar painted a gentler picture of friendship and politics. Khalid, he said, is a good friend but Selangor needs “political clout”.
“It is sad how … he has to leave. It is sad. The circumstances and the dictate of the time requires that Selangor be driven,” he said, clenching his fist at the end to prove this point.
“I cannot accept Selangor being held every time to ransom. Every other week you have this problem, this attack.
“We seem to be quite helpless, either they (the BN) use state apparatus or some NGO and not much can be done … we will not allow this to happen. This requires political leadership.”
‘It’s not about the money’
Enter Anwar – former finance minister and someone so deft in political manouevring that he managed to oust Ghafar Baba for the Umno deputy president’s post in a heartbeat despite Ghafar’s four-decade long career in the party.
But Khalid, too, has solid credentials. Under his stewardship, Selangor reserves now stand at an astounding RM3 billion, a mountain of cash that he jealously guards.
He has refused to play politics with the funds, either by through politically-expedient projects camouflaged as state initiatives or through feeding the party.
Critics of the ‘Kajang Move’ allege that this is actually the main reason behind the manouevre. They say it is just a bid by PKR to break into the coffers.
Anwar shrugged, as if this is nothing new, and without missing a beat lamented how “unfair” such accusations are.
“How can I, at this stage of my political career, compromise on good governance? It is sheer insanity if I do that! … On that score, I am not going to change.”
What he will change, however, is how the reserves are used. He argued that there is no point of talking about reserves with issues like poverty and public housing still a problem in the state.
“The mantel of economic management is not good reserves but good management of the economy. If you spend money, say the reserves, for public housing and free education for Universiti Selangor students, then is it wasting public money?”
Solution to Bible seizure
Anwar took the long and winding route in responding to a question as to why he chose to finally intervene in Selangor.
At the end of this, it is not hard to conclude that one of his grouses was the way the state has handled the Bible seizure issue.
While the Bible Society of Malaysia continues to await the return of the copies seized, Anwar sees this as a cut-and-dried “administrative” matter. This, he said, will be his first stop as MB.
“I would say: ‘Guarantee that they won’t be distributed to Muslims, don’t send them to schools and only use them for Christians. I want it in writing.’ And then I (would) send them back,” he said.
Comparing himself to Anwar, Khalid last week had said that, unlike him, Anwar can face impossible demands (he uses Hindraf’s demands as an example) but at the end of the meeting, those making the demands will be part of Anwar’s fanclub.
It is this trait that Anwar seems to be banking on to deal with rising religious tensions over the use of ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims.
If he heads the Selangor government, Anwar said he can use state resources to build the confidence of Muslims so they would not feel threatened by purported threats to their faith.
He said he has met Muslims who are “virtually fearful” of mass Christianisation and this means the issue is “beyond political”.
“No, I don’t believe Islam is threatened or (that) we (would) allow it to happen. I would say you have all the resources at your disposal to strengthen the position of Islam, to use the mosque to educate, to launch your dakwah (preaching) programmes.
“But you should never allow people to be held to ransom, to instill this sort of fear among the non-Muslims. This is something that is just pathetic after half a century of independence.”
If Anwar becomes the MB, would he then support a change in the state enactment to bar non-Muslims from using ‘Allah’?
In answer, he related the anecdote of a Permatang Pauh Muslim scholar who had questioned him as to why non-Muslims want to change the enactment.
“I told him, Tuan Guru, if you have a non-Muslim living on Jalan Masjid, then technically he cannot use the term ‘Jalan Masjid’.
“(The scholar) said, ‘He can.’ I said, ‘But this is the law.’ Then he was shocked and his immediate reaction was (that) you have to correct the law, not knowing the implications.
“So I think we have to explain. People say, no, we change the law. But I think give it time, we have to explain. Don’t under-estimate or over-estimate your influence or power without engaging with the people.”
Deference to palace
Outside Khalid’s reverence for his “political animal” instincts, Anwar, too, prides himself as being in tune with sentiments on the ground.
Reading this while planning the ‘Kajang Move’, Anwar has known that, even if the palace cannot legally reject his nomination as MB, it would be unwise to arrogantly brush off the influence of the palace.
“I know the (state) constitution, I understand it. But as deference to the ruler, I always said that in a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, it’s not just the legal constitution.
“If you accept the institution of royalty, of kingship (sic), then there is the paraphernalia, the facade of office that you need to recognise, and that means deference.”
Royal assent, protest votes and consensus within Pakatan Rakyat are hurdles he has to clear to become MB, but these are all things that Anwar and his team of advisors have accounted for.
This is why his candidacy was announced less than 24 hours of Kajang incumbent Lee Chin Cheh’s resignation from the state seat and why he is “taking the soft line” in explaining why it was done.
It also means admitting to “mistakes” – like leaving DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in the dark over the ‘Kajang Move’, blaming “pressure” to get things going and miscommunication (he thought DAP advisor Lim Kit Siang would tell his son).
Simply put, he said, Kajang was chosen among several seats because its demographics reflect that of the state and doing it now means there will still be time for Anwar and Pakatan to prove their chops in Selangor before the next general election.
“I cannot go on with this (and the feud within PKR Selangor and attacks by BN) on a protracted basis. I have to decide. It was a very difficult decision, not very popular in this instance andMalaysiakini is partly responsible.
“But the decision has to be made for the larger interest and I think, at least for a start, we have caught BN off guard. Nobody anticipated it …”
Neither did the people, some of whom are incensed that PKR is forcing yet another by-election.
For now, though, Anwar almost appears proud.
“It’s not bad (our responses). It means we had read the sentiments, which to me is a positive trait in political leadership.”
INTERVIEW Despite much speculation, PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim said that no condition was set by Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim when he agreed to the controversial ‘Kajang Move’.
As such, he said, it is “untrue” and “unfair to Khalid” to speculate that he will dig his heels in and not budge from the MB’s post if Selangor PKR chief Azmin Ali (right) does not vacate his Bukit Antarabangsa seat in the Selangor legislative assembly.
“If you know Khalid, (you would know) he is not that type. Not only is (the speculation) incorrect, but it is not fair to Khalid.
“Of course he expresses his views, but to put (conditions) of this and that, no,” he said in an interview with Malaysiakini today.
He was responding to a report in The Star, quoting sources close to the MB, that Khalid will not budge until Azmin vacates his state seat.
Likewise, he said, there was no understanding with Azmin, who is also PKR deputy president, that he would take over as menteri besar after the 14th general election, which can be called as early as 2016.
Asked directly on this, he said: “No. Even with Khalid, I said, ‘your services are required’ while to Azmin, I said ‘we need to work together’.”
“People say, ‘Anwar is a politician, he makes deals’. No. That is why I am a bit curious how this Star report came about’,” he said.
He also denied that this could be a way for Khalid to “save face”, if he has to step aside before completing his second term in office.
“It depends on how we deal with him. Not only now but (what happens) afterwards is important. He is not advised … to leave because he was incompetent or failed. No. He did well.”
It just that, he said, Khalid’s nature means he does not have the political acumen required to stave off attacks by the BN to wrest the nation’s so-called crown jewel state.
The PKR-dubbed ‘Kajang Move’ refers to the resignation of the Kajang assemblyperson to pave the way for Anwar’s entry into the state legislative assembly.
Although Anwar insists that Khalid will remain MB “for now”, it is seen by many as a move to eventually replace Khalid as menteri besar.
‘Why talk of feudalism now?’
The bold strategy came as the internal dispute between Abdul Khalid and Azmin took an ugly and public turn, with Azmin’s termination from the Selangor State Development Corporation board of directors.
The feud also made public grouses from certain factions on alleged “feudalism”, or the grip on the party by Anwar and his family, through his wife and party president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ibrahim (right), and daughter and vice-president Nurul Izzah Anwar.
Sighing before answering the question, Anwar, who appeared almost saddened by the whole thing, said it just does not make sense now when Wan Azizah has already indicated she will retire.
Having held to her post uncontested in PKR’s inaugural ‘one member one vote’ polls in 2011, Wan Azizah is expected to stay out of the PKR elections this April.
“At the time (when Wan Azizah entered politics following Anwar’s incarceration), there was a vacuum, and everybody wanted it and she had to struggle at the time.
“Now, when everything is in order, everybody is either a menteri besar or an assemblyperson, you want to talk about feudalism – after 15 years?” he asked.
This he said, has hurt his wife who despite more than a decade in politics is not immune to its twists and turns.
“She asks ‘Why? I have been working (all these years) and then suddenly people talk about feudalism. I have indicated I am leaving, and then it becomes feudal.’
“It’s okay. We just have to be patient. As prison was not a bed of roses, this job is truly not something comforting. I am okay,” he said.
Opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim last night joked that if Lee Chong Wei contests in the Kajang by-election he would be defeated as he would not be able to counter the popularity of the world’s top ranked singles player.
Anwar admitted that he is a big fan of Lee and always would pray for his success, in each game.
“If Lee contested I would admit defeat… (but) I would be defeated in badminton,” he said.
“Everytime he is at the badminton court I will pray for his victory. I am confident that if I contest in Kajang, Lee would also pray for my success,” said Anwar in his short speech last night at Taman Mesra, Kajang.
The decision by PKR de facto leader Anwar Ibrahim to contest in the Kajang by-election is not to divert attention from his sodomy case appeal this month, but to bring Selangor to greater heights, a senior academician has said.
Universiti Malaya Centre for Democracy and Elections (Umcedel) director Professor Mohammad Redzuan Othman (left) opined that Anwar is already immune to court cases as he has faced a slew of them since 1998.
“Since 1998, Anwar has been in and out of courts and I do not think his move to contest in Kajang is to divert the attention away from then prosecution’s appeal to his sodomy II acquittal as he is already used to being in and outside of courtrooms and has even served jail term.
“The fact is, the people are also aware of other high-profile cases like the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) scandal and other matters that sees the failure of the prosecution (to garner convictions) and government’s handling of them (by not appealing) compared to Anwar’s case,” he told Malaysiakini.
The Election Commission (EC) was today urged to summon Datuk Seri Najib Razak to explain Barisan Nasional’s sex and smut election campaign against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in the Kajang by-election.
PKR vice-president N. Surendran said such a strategy would have had the prime minister’s backing. Najib should bear responsibility for it.
Yesterday, Umno information chief Datuk Ahmad Maslan said it was important to explain to voters all of Anwar’s previous cases, including the appeal of his acquittal over a sodomy charge.
Ahmad said the disclosure was so that voters could make an informed choice on polling day.
“Is this the type of leader that Pakatan Rakyat can offer?” he said at a news conference after a closed-door meeting with the Selangor Barisan Nasional machinery on Sunday.
Surendran said Najib must be held responsible for Umno’s decision to conduct such a campaign as it could not have been taken without the connivance and approval of its party president.
“This is an unethical, dirty and desperate bid by Umno to challenge Anwar and Pakatan Rakyat in the crucial Kajang by-election,” Surendran, who is also Padang Serai MP said, in a statement.
He said Umno was afraid of the impact from the rising cost of living and had to resort to vilification and character assassination.
“This is also a desperate bid by Umno against a backdrop of widespread corruption.”
He said the sodomy allegations and alleged sex videos of Anwar were part of a baseless smear campaign orchestrated by Umno and the BN since 1998.
“In short, Umno plans to use their own fabricated allegations against Anwar to cheat and mislead voters during the by-election.”
Surendran said it was unprecedented for a major political party to announce publicly that it would be running a sex and smut campaign against a political opponent.
The “sickening” election strategy degraded public discourse and undermined democratic debate, he added.
“The EC must respond and condemn Umno’s sex and smut campaign and summon Najib for an explanation over Ahmad’s announcement.”
Surendran said EC chairman Tan Sri Abdul Aziz Mohd Yusof (pic) must be proactive in defending the integrity of the election process.
“It is his (Abdul Aziz) constitutional duty to do so under Article 113 of the Federal Constitution and failure to do so will prove that the EC is a toothless tiger and is biased in favour of BN,” said Surendran, urging Najib and Umno to withdraw their plans of a sex and smut campaign and pledge a clean and fair one.
Opposition leaders Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim and Karpal Singh have taken the police to task for failing to classify as sedition their reports against a Barisan Nasional election candidate who last year accused both leaders of bribing prosecutors and judges.
Karpal accused the police of dragging their feet over the case, saying the investigation not only began half a year after the reports were lodged, but was also half-baked.
“What sort of rubbish is this? We will not easily let them off the hook because our integrity as politicians is at stake,” said the veteran lawyer.
Karpal is Anwar’s lawyer in the latter’s sodomy trial involving Anwar’s former aide Saiful Bukhari Azlan.
Karpal said both Anwar and he would not settle anything less if Mazlan was not investigated for sedition.
They also want the media which carried Mazlan’s allegations to be investigated for publishing false news.
“We will write to the Attorney General to compel the police to reclassify the case. At this juncture, it looks like the police are not serious,” the DAP chairman told The Malaysian Insider.
Last month, investigating officer ASP Mohd Zulkefli Mohd Mukhtar from the Seberang Prai district police informed Anwar and Karpal that their reports had been classified as criminal defamation, which carried a jail term of up to two years or fine, or both, upon conviction.
This followed the duo’s letter to AG Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail on the status of their reports against Mazlan at the Petaling Jaya police on August 4 last year, after Karpal complained of no response from the Petaling Jaya police.
Karpal had repeatedly urged the police and the public prosecutor to act on the case as it also involved the judiciary and the Attorney General’s Chambers.
“I would have expected Gani to give special attention to this case as Mazlan had also implicated the judiciary and his officials,” he said.
He said Mazlan should have brought the matter to the police or the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.
Saying Mazlan and several media have committed offences under the Penal Code, Sedition Act and the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984, Karpal said he would also file defamation suits against Mazlan, Utusan Malaysia and TV3.
The year 2013 was a difficult year for Tunisia and for Arabs and their hopes of liberation. Tunisians placed high hopes on the revolutions they sparked in 2010. They placed high hopes on their ability to create a new model of peaceful change, one that could achieve a revolution that takes neither a step back into repression nor strays into violence. They placed high hopes on the national dialogue launched by political leaders, trade unions and civil society organisations in September to take the democratic transition out of the crisis into which it was driven by the assassinations of two political leaders in six months.
These hopes are nearing their realization. This week, Tunisia took the penultimate step to solidifying its transition to democracy with the adoption of the greatest constitution in its history, which embraces the values of freedom, dignity and justice, and with the handover of power from the elected government to an independent, technocratic government that will manage the period leading to legislative and presidential elections and the transition to a full-term democratically elected government.
Going back a little, the flame of the Arab Spring, sparked in Tunisia three years ago, opened a horizon of hope that politics could be different in this country where dictatorship had reigned for over half a century. It gave hope to Arabs that they could enjoy freedom and democracy, far from the despotism that had held back their progress and stifled every effort at reform.
On the third anniversary of the sparking of that flame, the principal question is: has the Tunisian model for democratic transition succeeded in placing Tunisia on the path of democracy? And what are the principal features of this model that make it successful?
The revolution granted everyone freedom – the fruit of sacrifices made by generations, particularly youth, from across the spectrum. However, freedom brings diverse possibilities – just as it can bring the blessings of peace, security, democracy and prosperity, it can also bring chaos, brutality, division and failure, if it is not practiced with responsibility and awareness.
The Jasmine Revolution has been fighting poisonous winds and waves of counter-revolutions. The democratic process has more than once faced the risk of collapse as a result of internal and external challenges, including the weakness of the democratic heritage and experience of most political players, both in power and opposition, in a democracy that has not yet completed its third year.
The process of democratic change is a long and complex one, requiring patience, long-term vision and willingness to put aside immediate partisan interests in order to build a shared system respectful of, and respected by, all. The intense transitional process Tunisia has undergone is that of building consensus around a common architecture for managing public life – drafting a new constitution in which every Tunisian can see herself or himself, establishing key institutions such as the Election Commission, Media Commission, Human Rights Commission, Local Government Council and others that establish new rules that safeguard and embody the principles of peaceful alternation of power, participatory democracy and respect for rights and freedoms. This process is one of painstakingly building shared institutions, mechanisms and rules that give life to the values of the revolution and the burning demands that drove people to the streets three years ago – freedom, dignity and justice.
This process of constructing a new body politic through consensus has been complicated by the dialectic of struggle between the old system that the revolution sought to bring down and a new system that is being built. This tension is found in every post-revolutionary phase. In Tunisia, we sought to strengthen the dynamic for change by building an alliance between those parties committed to democracy and the struggle against dictatorship. Building a coalition government of moderate parties, secular and Islamist, was an important step for overcoming ideological differences that could weaken the democratisation process.
Building consensus and sharing power require compromise. After the tragic assassination of Mohammed Brahmi, a member of the assembly, in July, opposition voices called for cancelling the entire democratic process by undoing all the new democratic institutions that emerged out of the 23 October 2011 elections, including the assembly, the government and the presidency. Most opposition parties withdrew from the Assembly, making their return conditional on the government’s resignation. The withdrawn deputies constituted less than a third of the total number of deputies which meant that the Assembly could have continued its legislative, and even constitutional work without them. However, Ennahdha Party and its partners in government chose to enter into discussions with the opposition to secure their return to the constitution-drafting process. We did not want to push through a constitution that would not represent all Tunisians and would have divided society. More than just being a document, drafting a constitution is a process by which society establishes a common coherent understanding of their core values and the aims, ends and means of government.
The final text must reflect and encompass the demands and aspirations of all sections of society so that all have a place and can see themselves within its vision.
For those reasons, we chose to hand over power in order to preserve the integrity and continuity of our transition. Our legitimacy is clear – an elected government formed out of free and fair elections and supported by a broad parliamentary majority and popular support. We chose to strengthen the transition by building it on a higher level of legitimacy – one based on consensus, not majority. We chose to hand over power to an interim technocratic government for the sake of something far dearer: placing Tunisia firmly on the path to democracy, writing a constitution for all Tunisians, building common institutions, and organizing elections whose results would be accepted by all since they would be held under a neutral government whose ministers will not stand for election.
The moving scenes of celebration at the adoption of Tunisia’s first democratic constitution proved the success of this model of coexistence. Today, we have a new constitution for a modern Tunisia, adopted by an elected democratic representative body, drafted with the participation of citizens and civil society, and signed by three Presidents of the coalition government of different political trends. The constitution is something all Tunisians can be proud of, enshrining civil liberties and social, economic and cultural rights for which they had fought. The constitution is pioneering in many ways, protecting environmental rights and the rights to free healthcare and education, promoting equality between regions and ensuring equal participation of women and men, going further than many constitutions worldwide in the protection of social and economic rights. Just as the Tunisian model, based on consensus and cooperation between political trends, has succeeded in founding the first Arab democracy of its kind, we hope it will succeed in protecting the fundamental bases for a dignified life for all citizens.
This achievement also crowns a number of significant steps this year, including the passing of the transitional justice law and the establishment of several important institutions such as the independent commission against torture, the first such body in the Arab world.
We, Tunisians, can be proud of what we have achieved, of presenting a new model of peaceful revolution to the world. This model of consensual democracy has taken the country to the shores of safety. Tunisia, a country small in its geography, population and natural resources, has, through the work and sacrifices of its people, its great cultural and intellectual heritage, and the ability to dialogue to overcome challenges, given its region and humanity a new, unique model in democracy-building.