The former Moroccan prime minister is facing Tunisian wrath for insulting remarks.
Rabat – Tunisian media have hit back at Abdelilah Benkirane’s “insulting comments,” telling the former Moroccan prime minister to “shut up” and mind his own business.
Yesterday, a number of Tunisian radio stations ran programs that reacted to Benkirane’s recent comments about Tunisia, responding to what they called “an insult to the country’s pride and image.”
Benkirane made his remarks on Sunday, January 13, while speaking to members of Morocco’s ruling Justice and Development Party (PJD).
“Tunisia is an undisciplined country, even if its democracy is better [than Morocco’s],” Benkirane told fellow PJD members at his Rabat home.
“When I visit the country, I find general strikes, dirt, and disorder. I have the feeling that some parties want to go back to dictatorship…. Tunisia is socially unstable,” Benkirane said. The former PJD boss, apparently comparing the Moroccan and Tunisian political experience, added: “Morocco is probably the best Arab country.”
The Tunisian media’s response came on Tuesday, after waiting for two days for an official response from the government.
Wondering what could have motivated the PJD official’s jibe at a neighboring country, Nessma TV called his remarks “a violation of all international and diplomatic norms.”
Mosaique Radio followed suit, although uninterested in the reasons. The comments were sufficient proof that Benkirane has no “regard for Tunisia.” The radio noted on its website that Benkirane “did not mince his words about Tunisia. His remarks breach all diplomatic rules and are insulting to our country’s image.”
However, in addition to rebuking Benkirane, the Tunisian radio wondered why government officials have said nothing so far. “The remarks were made days ago, and there has so far been no reaction from the Tunisian authorities.”
Tunisia is widely considered one of the MENA region’s best democracies.
“Democracy Index 2018,” a recent report by Britain’s the Economist on the state of democracy in the world, ranked Tunisia first in the Arab world in terms of democratic experience. Morocco, said to be oscillating between “authoritarianism” and “flawed democracy,” came second in the Arab world.