15 November 2011 10:37 pm | | 17


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According to reports, Moncef Marzouki will be the new president of Tunisia

Several media outlets have reported the appointment of Moncef Marzouki, former doctor, human rights advocate, and president of the Congress for the Republic political party, as interim president of Tunisia.

The nomination comes as the product of negotiations between the Congress for the Republic and Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party that took by far the largest plurality in Tunisia’s recent elections.

Those two parties were in a coalition with center-left party Ettakatol, whose leader Mustapha Ben Jaafar was also under consideration for the presidency, until tonight when Ettakatol suddenly announced its suspension of negotiations. It remained unclear whether that sudden withdrawal was due to the denial of the presidency to Ben Jaafar.

Sources within the Congress for the Republic leaked the information earlier today to Radio Kalima, a longtime Tunisian dissident radio station recently reestablished within the country. Radio Kalima also reported that Ben Jaafar was proposed as president of the Constituent Assembly, but it was unclear whether he would accept that position in light of the recent political turbulence within the coalition.
Moncef Marzouki studied at the University of Strasbourg and graduated in 1973. He conducted research abroad and then came back to Tunisia to teach general medicine at the University of Sousse.
He occupied several key positions such as head of the Tunisian League of Human Rights and head of the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Opinion.
Marzouki was a steadfast opponent of deposed Tunisian dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and was once jailed by the ousted leader.

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  1. Monji Mouelhi says:

    Comment in Tunisia Live.net
    Re. Mischa Benoit-Lavelle’s Moncef Marzouki Reportedly Offered Presidency
    Thu Nov 15, 2011
    By Monji Mouelhi | Wed Nov 16, 2011

    The Media continue to spread the rumors emanating from the Tunisian political parties about prospective heads of the new government. The saddest of these is the further confirmation is that Moncef Marzouki has been offered the presidency and that it is likely that that he would accept. Why would the respectable Moncef Marzouki, key political and human rights figure, would accept this position if Ennahda plans to water it down and convert it to a ceremonial function with no significant influence in running the country? This is the leader of one of the most important Tunisian secular parties, the Congress for the Republic, and without him, the balance of power is destroyed or weakened giving the Islamists free reign. Unless I do not understand his hidden agenda, I would be disappointed with Mr. Marzouki for taking this glorified fake position. He would be much more useful teaching medicine than wasting his talent on ceremonial, monetary, and benefit rewards.

    Furthermore, Tunisia is a poor country and it makes no sense to cover the enormous costs of maintaining a grandiose but useless position when poverty and unemployment are raging throughout the nation. This sounds like continuation of extravagance in maintaining a fat and pompous government through nepotism bordering on corruption. Surely, there must be more useful and rewarding roles for Mr. Marzouki to play in running the government of Tunisia.

    The only consolation is the rumor that Mustafa Ben Jaafar, key political figure and the leader of the other important Tunisian secular party, the Ettakatol, has been offered the role of leading the Constituent Assembly. Mr. Ben Jaafar has not accepted this important function and I hope that he is just posturing rather than actually rejecting a key position that may allow him to affect the constitution and the formation of the new government within a year’s time.

  2. Scott says:

    That’s great and I hope for continued efforts for more freedoms and rights in Tunisia. I hope and wish for the best for Tunisia.

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