Abdelwaheb Matar was born on March 23, 1952 in Sfax. He is a lawyer and a constitutional law professor at the University of Tunis. He was one of the original founders of the Congress for the Republic (CPR) party.
During the interim government of Hamadi Jebali, Matar served as minister of training and employment. After Jebali resigned as prime minister in February 2013, Prime Minister-Designate Ali Laarayedh reappointed Matar within his new cabinet on March 8 to hold the post of minister of commerce and handicrafts.
Matar holds a PhD in political science from the Faculty of Law in Tunis and a Diploma in Management from the National School of Administration in Tunis. In 1983, he served as Director of International Cooperation at the Prime Ministry. Besides, his job as a lawyer, he is a vice President of the International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners and a founding member of the Tunisian Judicial Independence Center. He is also an expert collaborator with the International Council for Human Rights in Geneva.
In 1988 Matar became an opponent of the regime of deposed President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. He filed lawsuits in the Administrative Tribunal Court of Tunis, the International Council on Human Rights and the African Court of Human and Peoples Rights to cancel the referendum and reverse the results of the re-election of President Ben Ali in 2004.
Matar publicized the corruption of President Ben Ali and his close associates through his writings published in Tunisia News and the outspoken debates in many forums and television programs outside of Tunisia. As a lawyer during Ben Ali’s era, he defended Islamists during the year of Ben Ali’s massive crackdown on them in 1991. He is known for being involved in many political activities from a young age. He has been fighting in the ranks of the Socialist Progressive Rally (now the Democratic Modernist Pole) until he withdraw from it with a group of other members to be one of the founding members of the Congress for the Republic Party.
Matar is married and father of three children. His two daughters are lawyers and his son is a surgical doctor. Matar is a grandfather of six children.