Democracy: difficult

Situation in Tunisia remains tense even after transitional cabinet takes office. Heavy clashes broke out again between protesters and police in the capital Tunis. The Catholic minority in the country looks to the future with concern, not least for this reason.

It is not yet clear whether the country is moving toward democracy, said Archbishop Maroun Elias Lahham of Tunis on Tuesday (18 December).01.2011) the Roman press service Misna. So far, democracies in this part of the world are "non-existent". That is why Tunisians are concerned about being the first to try to do so. But we will soon see whether the new government is really open and democratic.

"There is an attempt to move from an authoritarian regime to a democratic regime," Lahham elaborated. Apparently, the less corrupt ex-employees of ousted president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali would now take over responsibility in the executive branch. But the problem is that in the 23 years under Ben Ali, hardly any other leaders were able to rise to the top. All the more reason, they say, to hold elections soon.

"Desire for freedom that moves"
At the beginning of the demonstrations in Tunisia, the ie was unemployment and the high cost of living, Lahham said. But already on the second day, it had become clear that political ies were in the foreground. "More than economic problems, which also affect many other countries in these years of international crisis, it was the desire for freedom that moved Tunisians," the bishop said.

Of Tunisia's 10 million residents, 21.000 Catholics. Bishop Lahham (62), a native of Irbid, Jordan, was head of the seminary of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem in Beth Jallah before his appointment to Tunis in 2005. His predecessor in the Tunisian capital was a compatriot: the current Patriarch of Jerusalem, Fouad Twal.

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