Republic was proclaimed and Prime Minister and founder of the pro-independence
Neo-Dustour Party, Habib Bourguiba declared
Bourguiba went on to dominate
Tunisia politics for three decades and established the country as a trading
friend of the west. His hard line against Islamic extremists led to many western
allies turning something of a blind eye to a harsh regime at home.
November 1987 then Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali declared Bourguiba
impeached on grounds of senility in what was effectively a bloodless coup, and
became president until he was forced to flee the country to Saudi Arabia
following violent demonstrations leading up to and including 14th January 2011. Former parliamentary speaker Fouad Mebazaa has assumed the role of interim
President with a promise of democratic elections within sixty days with Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi
being asked to form a temporary government.
However within weeks Ghannouchi was forced to resign bowing to pressure from
protestors that Tunisia could only move forward if it made a clean break with
the past. Elections for a constituent assembly were scheduled for 24th July
however postponed until 23rd October 2011 when 4.4 million Tunisians finally got
the opportunity to vote and shape the future of their country, however just
51.1% of those eligible actually voted.
The moderate Ennahda Islamist party won the parliamentary
election with 37.04% of the vote but did not win an outright majority yet by far
gained most seats in the newly created Constituent Assembly of Tunisia which
elected human rights activist Moncef Marzouki as interim president. He, in turn
appointed Hamadi Jebali from Ennahda as his prime minister.
Today hard line Islamists have carried out attacks in the
country pushing for Sharia law whilst the government has proposed a new
constitution reducing women's rights referring to them as merely '"complementary
to men." For more about Tunisia explore our profile pages below.