News / Africa

Tunisia Constitutional Council Appoints Interim Head of State

Tunisian speaker of the lower house of parliament, Fouad Mebazaa, takes an oath as interim President of Tunisia, in Tunis, 15 Jan 2011
Tunisian speaker of the lower house of parliament, Fouad Mebazaa, takes an oath as interim President of Tunisia, in Tunis, 15 Jan 2011

Multimedia

Audio
TEXT SIZE - +

Tunisia's highest constitutional body has appointed the head of the lower house of parliament as temporary head of the North African country, after massive protests drove longstanding leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from the country.

A day after massive protests and riots toppled Tunisia's authoritarian president, Tunisians ventured into the streets of the capital to survey the damage and digest the historic events. Riot police and army tanks were out in force and helicopters flew overhead.

While most ordinary Tunisians were barred from venturing down the main Habib Bourguiba Avenue - scene of massive demonstrations and rioting on Friday - other streets were open to traffic and pedestrians.

Basma Moussa, a woman in her 50s, surveyed the damage. Charred objects littered the sidewalks and smashed store windows. Rioters burned Tunis' main station and looted many shops.

Moussa said she was sad to see Tunis in such bad shape. But she was proud of Tunisians for toppling their longtime president, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Tunisians are tired, she said, and they are poor.


Tunisia Country Profile

  • Location: Northern Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya
  • Population: 10,589,025 (July 2010 est.)
  • Ethnic Groups: Arab 98%, European 1%, Jewish and other 1%
  • Religion: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish and other 1%
  • Languages: Arabic , French
  • Government: Republic
  • History: Tunisia declared independence from France on March 20, 1956. Habib Bourguiba was Tunisia's first president. He was deposed by then-Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on Nov. 7, 1987. Mr. Ben Ali was elected to a fifth consecutive term in office in October 2009.

The constitutional council says President Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia Friday night, has left power for good.

Here in Tunis, many are divided about the future. Some are hopeful the country would finally become the true democracy they yearned for. Others are fearful that yet another authoritarian regime would come to power.

Fifty-three-year-old business owner Anouar Frika recalled the last power change in 1987, when the country's long-time leader Habib Bourguiba was removed from office and Mr. Ben Ali replaced him.

Then, Frika says, Mr. Ben Ali promised change - but that never happened. Nor does he have much confidence in Tunisia's political parties right now. But he thinks that with time they will learn what democracy is all about. He is glad law enforcement authorities are out to keep order on the streets.

But 27-year-old Marouen Gara is more pessimistic.

Gara said protesters created a revolution and want freedom. Now he sees police on the street. He says this is not the freedom they had hoped for.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid