By Kacem Jlidi
January 14th, Ben Ali fled the country bringing an end to 55 years of dictatorship since the French occupation. Today, December 12th, Tunisia is having a new president: Moncef Marzouki , a Human Rights activist and leader of the secular center-left Congress for the Republic (CPR) party; making him the third President in the history of the Tunisian Republic, and the first president democratically elected in the post-revolution era.
The Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, a body elected on October 23rd to govern the country and draft a new constitution, elected Marzouki as the President of the Tunisian Republic, with 155 votes for, 3 against, and 42 blank votes. Blank votes were the result of a boycott from the opposition parties, who considered the new mini constitution of the country as an undemocratic one.
His appointment follows a week of animated debate within the Constituent Assembly focused on the formation of Tunisia’s provisional constitution.
The Constituent Assembly had opened the floor last week for presidential candidacy according to the conditions of interim law related to the powers’ division which indicates that the Tunisian President must fulfill the following conditions: “To be a Tunisian Muslim, non-carrier of a foreign nationality, born to a Tunisian Father and Mother and to be an adult of 35 years old at least”.
The adopted constitution, containing 26 articles, is being called the “mini-constitution,” and it delineates the roles and entitlements of the legislative, judicial, and executive branches of the interim government. The document will expire following the administration of general elections, potentially within the year.
It should be highlighted here that the Congress for the Republic, has came second in the October 23rd votes, collecting 29 seats out of 217 seats at the Constituent Assembly had made a coalition with the first comer Ennahda Islamist Party and the 3rd comer Ettakatol led by Mustfa Ben Jaafer, currently the head of the Constituent Assembly.
What makes the presidential appointment not such a happy news for the Tunisians, even though many claims that he has a clean past is that the coalition in the constituent assembly’s majorities: Ennahda with 89 seats, CPR with 29 seats and Ettakatol with 20 seats had agreed already to appoint Moncef Marzouki as a president.
The voting requires a 50%+1 results while the coalition enjoys a fair majority not be annoyed with that rule.
With the Constituent Assembly led by Ettakatol’s leader Musfa Ben Jaafer and the country presidential gone for the CPR’s leader Moncef Marzouki; it’s now presumed that he will appoint Hamadi Jebali from the Ennahda Islamist movement tomorrow. The late will be in charge of announcing the composition of the cabinet.
Myriam, a Tunisian student studying Political Sciences in Paris summed up the discontent of MArzouki’s appointment in the following tweet which translates to: “interim government is limited by no frame of time, the executive board is not elected and the constitution isn’t proposed for a referendum. Welcome to democracy”.
He was born 7 July 1945, 66 years old. He studied medicine at the University of Strasbourg (France). Returning to Tunisia in 1979, he founded the Center for Community Medicine in Sousse and the African Network for Prevention of Child Abuse, also joining Tunisian League for Human Rights.
When the government cracked down violently on the Islamist Ennahda Movement in 1991, Marzouki confronted Tunisian President Ben Ali calling on him to adhere to the law.
In 1993, Marzouki was a founding member of the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience, but he resigned after it was taken over by supporters of the government. He was arrested on several occasions on charges relating to the propagation of false news and working with banned Islamist groups.
He subsequently founded the National Committee for Liberties. He became President of the Arab Commission for Human Rights and as of 17 January 2011continues as a member of its Executive Board.
In 2001, he founded the Congress for the Republic party. This was banned in 2002, but Marzouki moved to France and continued running it. (Wikipedia).