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

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

US Imposes Sanctions on Alleged Honduran Drug Gang

Treasury department alleges Los Valles group is responsible for smuggling tens of thousands of kilograms of cocaine into US each month More

At 91, Marvel Creator Stan Lee Continues to Expand his Universe

Company's chief emeritus hopes to interest new generation of children in superheroes of all shapes and sizes by publishing content across multiple media platforms More

Photogallery New Drug Protects Against Virus in Ebola Family

Study by researchers at University of Texas Medical Branch, Tekmira Pharmaceuticals is first looking at drug's effectiveness after onset of symptoms 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls For Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid