Following are excerpts from an interview with Rachid Al-Ghannouchi, a Tunisian Islamist opposition leader in exile, which aired on Al-Jazeera TV on January 15, 2011:
Rachid Al-Ghanouchi: I salute the Tunisian youth and women, who have managed to teach the greatest dictator in Tunisian history a lesson. They kept chanting: "Ben Ali, you coward, Tunisia will never be humiliated." Indeed, Allah has made their hopes come true, and Ben Ali turned out to be a coward, and fled like a mouse in the still of night.
What remains is for them not to make do with the toppling of the dictator, but to bring down the dictatorship. There still is a dictatorship in Tunisia. The ruler is gone, but the regime remains. It is evident in the constitution itself.
The Tunisian constitution was tailored to the needs of the dictator, who has taken control of the entire country. This dictatorship is evident in the laws pertaining to the political parties. There is a complete legal system. The police is unrestrained. The dictatorship is evident in the entire structure of this state, which was tailored to the needs of a single political party. Consequently, it has turned into a mafia state, a police state, and a dictator state.