Beji Caid Essebsi is the founder and chairman of the Nidaa Tounes, or “Call of Tunisia,” party. It is a secularist political party that was founded on June 16, 2012 after the post-revolution 2011 elections.
In less than a year, the party has become among the most well-known political parties in Tunisia. Yet, critics charge that it includes representatives of the RCD regime of former president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who was toppled during the 2011 revolution.
Supporters of Nidaa Tounes tend to include secular liberals and leftists.
Nidaa Tounes’ founder was born on November 26, 1926 in Sidi Bou Said, a northern suburb of Tunis. A lawyer and politician, Essebsi graduated from the Faculty of Law in Paris in 1950 and began his law practice in 1952. He held several important positions in Tunisia between 1963 and 1991 before being appointed Prime Minister for the post-revolution transitional government in 2011.
Essebsi joined the New Constitutional Liberal Party when he was a student. After Tunisian independence in 1956, he served as an advisor to the first Tunisian president, Habib Bourguiba. He was later appointed regional director of the Ministry of Interior, and in 1963 he was appointed head of the Administration of National Security.
In 1965, Essebsi assumed the position of minister of interior, and on December 3, 1980, he was appointed secretary to the erstwhile prime minister, Mohamed Mzali.
He was appointed as Tunisian Ambassador to West Germany in 1986. In 1989, he was elected to the Tunisian Parliament in which he served as president of Parliament from 1990 to 1991.
Following the resignation of former Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi, the temporary President Fouad Mubazaa appointed Essebsi as Tunisian Prime Minster on February 27, 2011. Mubazaa charged Essebsi with the mission of forming an interim government that would serve until the Constituent Assembly elections were held.