Tunisia PM says rating downgrade unfair

AFP, Thursday 31 May 2012

Last week's credit cut by Standard & Poor's comes under fire from the leader of the country's parliament

Hamadi Jebali, Tunisia's PM, speaks out (Photo: Reuters)

Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali on Wednesday criticised Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the country's rating, saying it was punishing the country's fledgling democracy.

The ratings agency on 23 May cut Tunisia to a speculative 'BB/B' level due to political uncertainty and weaker economic outlook.
"Today we're going through a post-revolutionary phase. It is natural that there should be troubles, strikes and sit-ins. But this looks like democracy is being punished," Jebali said on television.
He insisted that "all the economic indicators show that there is progress."
A popular uprising led to the ouster in January 2011 of long-time dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, tipping the first domino of the so-called Arab Spring which is still sweeping the region.
Jebali pointed out that Standard & Poor's had granted Ben Ali's Tunisia a BBB+ rating in 1994.
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