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January 17, 2011

Key People in Tunisia Political Unrest

Here are the key players in Tunisia's fragile political process:

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Ousted President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali ruled Tunisia for more than two decades.  He fled to Saudi Arabia on January 14 after a month of protests and rioting sparked by widespread unemployment and high food prices.


Mohamed Ghannouchi

Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi is a close ally of the ousted president.  He announced a new unity government this week that allowed him, along with the ousted president's ministers of defense, interior, foreign affairs and finance, to keep their government posts.


Fouad Mebazaa


Fouad Mebazaa was sworn in as Tunisia's interim president last week.  Prior to President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's ousting, he served as the speaker of parliament.




Najib Chebbi

Najib Chebbi is the founder of the largest and most credible opposition group, the Progressive Democratic Party.  He has been appointed as the new minister of regional development.  He carried out a hunger strike to protest the president's rule in 2007.



Moncef Marzouki


Moncef Marzouki is the head of the small Congress for the Republic party.  The formerly exiled political activist and opposition leader returned to the country from Paris on Tuesday.



Rachid Ghannouchi

Rachid Ghannouchi is the exiled leader of the outlawed Ennahdha Islamic movement.  In 1992, a Tunisian military court sentenced him to life in prison on a conviction of plotting to overthrow the government.  He has been living in Britain but has indicated he may now return to Tunisia.  He is not related to the prime minister by the same last name.