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.