Magazine article New Internationalist

Beji Caid Essebsi

Magazine article New Internationalist

Beji Caid Essebsi

Article excerpt

Tunisia, held to be the one 'success story' of the 2011 Arab spring, elected Essebsi as its President in December 2014. Essebsi is, at 87, an old war horse of the political class, and has always displayed an inclination for moderate democratic reform while at the same time never straying far from the levers of power. Because of his positioning in various ministerial and ambassadorial posts dating back to the 1960s, he is regarded with suspicion by the young activists who launched the Tunisian Jasmine revolution, as well as by the country's Islamic movement. However, his success in Tunisia's second genuinely competitive election (he won 55 per cent of the vote compared to 45 per cent for his opponent, the incumbent Moncef Marzouki) is testimony to the desire of both Essebsi's proponents and opponents to hold on to the open and relatively democratic political space that is such a rarity in the Arab world. …

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