A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Meanwhile, Back in Tunis . . . Ghannouchi Quits; Replacement is 84

Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned today. Protesters have been demanding he step down almost since the departure of Ben Ali, since he is a longtime staple of the old regime. Protesters reportedly cheered his departure.

Of course, the government promptly appointed Beji Caid-Essebsi to replace him. (Link is in French.) Caid-Essebsi, who is 84 years old, was variously Interior, Defense, and Foreign Minister in Habib Bourguiba's day, having served Bourguiba from independence in 1956. Then he headed the Chamber of Deputies under Ben Ali, till leaving government in the mid-1990s.

In other words, the ideal candidate to represent the youth revolution. I guess they couldn't find anyone left over from the days of the Beylicate.

1 comment:

David Mack said...

In my time at the U.S. Embassy (1979-1982) Beji was the perfect example of the "loyal opposition." He did not frighten the Tunisian establishment the way Islamists or far left did. As an aging has been diplomat, I admire someone of his age who still has the spunk for a last hurrah. A Tunisian Conrad Adenhauer?