The Arab revolutions are "first and foremost social and democratic", not "nationalistic and xenophobic",Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki told MEPs on Wednesday. He condemned the murder, this morning in Tunis, of Chokri Belaïd an "old friend" and figurehead of the secular opposition. This "odius crime" is "a threat, a letter sent to us, but one which will not be accepted", he said.
"We shall continue to unmask the enemies of the revolution", promised President Marzouki. He conceded that the Arab revolutions could lead to risks of disorder, immigration to to Europe and armed Islamic extremism.
He nonetheless insisted that "it is not Islamism which is triumphing in the wake of the Arab Spring", but "really and truly democracy".
"We are absolutely determined to pursue our strategy of absorbing the moderate portion of Islamism", said Mr Marzouki, whilst admitting that the transition to democracy was "proving more difficult, more complex and above all lengthier than planned. But it is under way". The new constitution should be finalised in "two or three months", and women's gains will be protected, he added.
European Parliament President Martin Schulz unreservedly condemned the "brutal assassination" of Chokri Belaïd and expressed Parliament's condolences to his family and to the Tunisian people. MEPs observed a minute's silence for those who have lost their lives for the freedom of Tunisia.