President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali presents his candidacy for presidential elections

The Bardo-Tunis, Tunisia (03-09-2004)-- President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali submitted Friday afternoon to the Constitutional Council his candidacy to the office of President in the presidential elections scheduled for October 24, 2004.

At his arrival at the Constitutional Council building, President Ben Ali was warmly greeted by large masses of citizens, government cadres and Democratic Constitutional Rally members.

He was also welcomed by members of the Constitutional Council.

President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali then presented his candidacy papers to the Constitutional Council in accordance with the terms of the Constitution.

He then waved from the balcony of the Constitutional Council building to the enthusiastic crowd of citizens, cadres and RCD members who came to express their support to his leadership.

Addressing the popular gathering, President Ben Ali made the following remarks:

"A few moments ago I have submitted my candidacy to the office of President.
I am proud to respond to the call of duty and to renew my pledge to Tunisia and to our people, all groups of which having lent their support to me and expressed, with extraordinary enthusiasm and loyalty, their sincere and unwavering commitment to the orientation which we have chosen for Tunisia since November 7, 1987."

"As I express my outmost appreciation and gratification at this renewed expression of confidence and this continued support, I would like to extend my thanks to the political parties, national organizations, professional unions, components of civil society and associations as well as the to the education, vocational training, teaching and scientific research community. My thanks go also to people involved in culture, artistic creation, media and communication as well as to all workers, farmers, business people and Tunisian women, who are today true partners in this society of modernity and progress. I would like also to thank our youth, in its eager pursuit of excellence and success, and to our communities abroad, in their attachment to their homeland and love for their country."

"We intend to proceed together to achieve further accomplishments and successes, in a climate of solidarity, cooperation, cooperation, harmony between all the sons and daughters of this land."

"We want this reformist momentum, to which we have grown to be accustomed since the change, to continue for the purpose of providing the prerequisites of progress and wellbeing to all groups, regions and generations, and of making further steadfast strides on the path of comprehensive and sustained development, and bolstering Tunisia's standing in all occasions and in all international and regional forums."

"I have always relied on the awareness of our people, it loyalty and it ability to reach the highest of aims."

"My determination today is stronger and my will is even firmer to forge ahead as we continue to build and achieve, so as to enter the next stage with all that the means of invulnerability and prosperity that are required."

"Tunisia will remain always the homeland of all Tunisians, men and women, all of them sharing the same rights, opportunities, obligations and duties."

"Also at the top of our concerns and among the most pressing of our duties there will always be the love of Tunisia, loyalty towards this country, faithfulness towards its past glories, the safeguarding of its interests and utmost dedication to serving it.
And on God we shall count."

The ceremony was attended by the first deputy chairman of the Democratic Constitutional Rally, the prime minister, the speaker of the chamber of deputies, members of the political bureau of the RCD and many national figures and party members.