Fri . 19 Jan 2019

Beji Caid Essebsi

beji caid essebsi, beji caid essebsi et habib bourguiba
Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi or es-Sebsi, Arabic: محمد الباجي قائد السبسي‎, Muhammad al-Bājī Qā’id as-Sibsī;  pronunciation  born 29 November 1926 is a Tunisian politician who has been President of Tunisia since December 2014 Previously he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011

Essebsi is the founder of the Nidaa Tounes political party, which won a plurality in the 2014 parliamentary election In December 2014, he won the first regular presidential election following the Tunisian Revolution, becoming Tunisia's first freely and directly elected president


  • 1 Personal life
  • 2 Political career
    • 21 Interim Prime Minister in 2011
    • 22 2014 elections
    • 23 President of Tunisia
  • 3 Honours and Decorations
    • 31 Tunisian national honours
    • 32 Foreign honors
  • 4 Awards and recognition
  • 5 Publications
  • 6 References
  • 7 External links

Personal life

Born in Sidi Bou Said to a family from the Tunisian landed élite, he is a great-grandson of Ismail Caïd Essebsi, a Sardinian kidnapped by Tunisian corsairs along the coasts of Sardinia at the beginning of the nineteenth century who became a mamluk leader raised with the ruling family He was later recognized as a free man when he became an important member of the government

He has two sons and two daughters

Essebsi is currently 91 years old and is the second-oldest current head of state after Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth realms, thus making him the oldest democratically elected head of state in the world

Political career

Essebsi's first involvement in politics came in 1941, when he joined the Neo Destour youth organization in Hammam-Lif He studied law in Paris and became a lawyer in 1952 at the Tunis bar, where he began his career with the defence of Neo Destour activists He was a follower of Tunisia's post-independence leader Habib Bourguiba He then joined Bourguiba as an adviser following the country's independence from France in 1956

From 1957 to 1971, he performed various functions such as director of the regional administration, general director of the Sûreté nationale, Interior Minister from 5 July 1965 to 8 September 1969, Minister-Delegate to the Prime Minister, Defence Minister from 7 November 1969 to 12 June 1970, and then Ambassador in Paris

From October 1971 to January 1972, he advocated greater democracy in Tunisia and resigned his function, then returned to Tunis

In April 1981, he came back to the government under Mohamed Mzali as Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving until September 1986

In 1987, he switched allegiance following Ben Ali's removal of Bourguiba from power He was appointed as Ambassador to Germany From 1990 to 1991, he was the President of the Chamber of Deputies

Interim Prime Minister in 2011

On 27 February 2011, in the aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution, Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned following a day of clashes in Tunis with five protesters being killed On the same day, acting President Fouad Mebazaa appointed Caïd Essebsi as the new Prime Minister, describing him as "a person with an impeccable political and private life, known for his profound patriotism, his loyalty and his self-sacrifice in serving his country" The mostly young protesters however continued taking their discontent to the streets, criticizing the unilateral appointment of Caïd Essebsi without further consultation

On 5 May accusations of the former Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi that a coup d'etat was being prepared against the possibility of the Islamist Ennahda Party winning the Constituent Assembly election in October, again led to several days of fierce anti-Government protests and clashes on the streets In the interview disseminated on Facebook, Rajhi called Caïd Essebsi a "liar", whose government had been manipulated by the old Ben Ali circles Caïd Essebsi strongly rejected Rajhi's accusations as "dangerous and irresponsible lies, chaos in the country" and also dismissed him from his post as director of the High Commission for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which he had retained after being dismissed from the office as Interior Minister already on March 8 Nevertheless, Ennahda's president Rached Ghannouchi further fueled the suspicions, stating that "Tunisians doubt the credibility of the Transitional Government"

After the elections in October, Caïd Essebsi left office on 24 December 2011 when the new Interim President Moncef Marzouki appointed Hamadi Jebali of the Islamist Ennahda, which had become the largest parliamentary group

2014 elections

Main article: Tunisian presidential election, 2014

Following his departure from office, Caïd Essebsi founded the secular Nidaa Tounes party, which won a plurality of the seats in the October 2014 parliamentary election He was also the party's candidate in the country's first free presidential elections, in November 2014

On 22 December 2014, official election results showed that Essebsi had defeated incumbent President Moncef Marzouki in the second round of voting, receiving 5568% of the vote After the polls closed the previous day, Essebsi said on local television that he dedicated his victory to "the martyrs of Tunisia"

President of Tunisia

Essebsi was sworn in as President on 31 December 2014 at the age of 88 He vowed on that occasion to "be president of all Tunisian men and women without exclusion" and stressed the importance of "consensus among all parties and social movements"

On 3 August 2016, Essebsi appointed Youssef Chahed as a prime minister as the parliament withdrew confidence from Habib Essid's government

In 2017 he supports changing Tunisian law to allow daughters to inherit an equal share to sons and to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men — both explicitly forbidden under Islamic law

Honours and Decorations

Tunisian national honours

  •  :
    • Grand Master & Grand Collar of the Order of Independence automatic upon taking presidential office
    • Grand Master & Grand Collar of the Order of the Republic automatic upon taking presidential office
    • Grand Master & Grand Cross of the National Order of Merit automatic upon taking presidential office

Foreign honors

  •  Algeria : Medal of the President of the Republic of Algeria 3 January 2013
  •  Jordan : Collar of the Order of Al-Hussein bin Ali 20 October 2015
  •  Sweden : Knight of Royal Order of the Seraphim 4 November 2015
  •  Bahrain : Grand Commander of the Order of Sheikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa 27 January 2016
  •  Italy : Knight Grand Cross with Collar of Order of Merit of the Italian Republic 8 January 2017
  •  Palestine : Collar of the State of Palestine 6 July 2017
  •  Turkey : Collar of the Order of the State of Republic of Turkey 27 december 2017

Awards and recognition

  • Honorary doctorate from Paris-Sorbonne University 2015
  • Founder’s Award of International Crisis Group 2015
  • Medal of Arab tourism 2017


  • Bourguiba : le bon grain et l'ivraie, éd Sud Éditions, Tunis, 2009
  • La Tunisie : la démocratie en terre d'islam with Arlette Chabot, éd Plon, Paris, 2016


  1. ^
  2. ^ Sayed Mohamed Mahdi al Tajir, The International Who's Who of the Arab World 1978, page 137
  3. ^ "Tunisian PM Mohammed Ghannouchi resigns over protests", BBC News, 27 February 2011
  4. ^ Tarek Amara, "Tunisian prime minister resigns amid protests", Reuters, 27 February 2011 Archived 19 January 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Mohamed El Aziz Ben Achour, Catégories de la société tunisoise dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle, éd Institut national d'archéologie et d'art, Tunis, 1989 in French
  6. ^ a b Ridha Khefi, "Béji Caïd Essebsi", Jeune Afrique, 13 March 2005 in French
  7. ^ a b c "President Essebsi, a lifetime in Tunisia politics" Euronews 22 December 2014 Archived from the original on 22 December 2014 Retrieved 22 December 2014 
  8. ^ "Essebsi retrouve ses racines à Hammam-Lif!" in French Espace Manager 20 October 2014 Archived from the original on 24 December 2014 Retrieved 24 December 2014 
  9. ^ Guidi, Francesco 1 March 2011 "Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Gannouchi resigns" About Oil Retrieved 13 November 2014 
  10. ^ a b Guidi, Francesco 9 May 2011 "Tension returns to Tunisia with protests against the Transitional Government" About Oil Retrieved 13 November 2014 
  11. ^ «Farhat Rajhi fonce, tête baissée, pour l'élection présidentielle», Business News, 6 May 2011
  12. ^ Mzioudet, Houda 14 December 2011, "Ennahda's Jebali Appointed as Tunisian Prime Minister", Tunisia, archived from the original on 17 January 2012, retrieved 21 December 2011 
  13. ^ Monica Marks 29 October 2014 "The Tunisian election result isn't simply a victory for secularism over Islamism" Archived from the original on 3 November 2014 Retrieved 9 November 2014 
  14. ^ "Essebsi elected Tunisian president with 5568 percent" Reuters 22 December 2014 Archived from the original on 22 December 2014 Retrieved 22 December 2014 
  15. ^ "Tunisia election: Essebsi claims historic victory" BBC News 22 December 2014 Archived from the original on 22 December 2014 Retrieved 22 December 2014 
  16. ^ "Tunisian secular leader Essebsi sworn in as new president", Reuters, 31 December 2014
  17. ^ "How the new government plans to save Tunisia" Al-Monitor 2016-08-18 Retrieved 2017-01-02 
  18. ^ "It has been a summer of progress for women in the Arab world" The Economist 24 August 2017 Retrieved 26 August 2017 

External links

  • Media related to Béji Caïd Essebsi at Wikimedia Commons
Political offices
Preceded by
Hassen Belkhodja
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hédi Mabrouk
Preceded by
Slaheddine Baly
President of the Chamber of Deputies
Succeeded by
Habib Boularès
Preceded by
Mohamed Ghannouchi
Prime Minister of Tunisia
Succeeded by
Hamadi Jebali
as Head of Government
Preceded by
Moncef Marzouki
President of Tunisia

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