Some define him as Tunisia’s first democratically elected president. Others argue that since he was not directly elected by the people, he is the candidate appointed by the Troika, the coalition of Ennahdha, Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol.
He is Moncef Marzouki, the nonconformist recently elected Tunisian president. He refuses to wear a tie and wears a barnous (traditional man gown), announced in the speech he delivered from the Carthage Palace on December 16th that austerity will be the policy followed in managing the expenses of the Carthage Palace. He went as far as deciding to auction off the four other Presidential Palaces and allocate the revenues to the promotion of the employment sector in Tunisia.
At 66 years of age, he is an intellectual president, elected by 153 out of 217 members of the Constituent Assembly. He is the president who not only acts but also reacts. In the speech he delivered on Dcember 13th, President Marzouki used the term “sefirat”, which is a pejorative term used to describe unveiled women. In the following occasion and after a wave of criticism on social networks, he made it clear that he was well intentioned when using the word and that he only meant the surface meaning.
In his behavior and in his style, he is very humble. “Despite living in cities, deep inside I am still that simple bedouin”, he asserts referring to his southern roots. In his inaugural speech Marzouki said: “I represent the country, the people, and the revolution.” He is not only an eloquent speaker, but he also honors his words through actions. Although the Opposition decided to boycott the election and opted for blank ballots, the opposition was the first to be invited to the Presdential Palace. In this regard, “Political pluralism in Tunisia has moved from fake to real,” said Ahmed Nejib Chebbi, head of the Progressive Democratic Party and prominent figure of the opposition.
Marzouki broke the iron wall that was built between the president and journalists after accepting a one hour interview in the Presidential Palace by 2 Tunisian journalists. Many observers noticed him making his answers and comments witty, wise and funny and amusing from time to time.
He is committed to the success of the Tunisian revolution. He is personally devoted to meeting the challenges encountering the country. He promised the mothers of the victims and the martyrs of the revolution that their children’s blood won’t go vain. He did not hesitate to call upon the Malian President to deliver the Tunisian sentenced to death and his request was positively accepted.
His critics claim that as head of a secular center left political party, he gave up his values to be able to form the coalition with Ennahdha, Tunisia’s moderate Inslamist Party and become president. Also the uneven distribution of prerogatives between the Prime Minister and the President made many describe him as just a symbolic president.
Marzouki the human rights activist could only become a president in a post revolutionary Tunisia because he is a revolutionary president.