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Tunisia: Moncef Marzouki the New President of the Republic

Tunisia, the country that was the spark of the so called Arab Spring almost a year ago, now has a new interim President: Moncef Marzouki. Aged 66, the human rights activist was imprisoned, and exiled under the regime of former President Zeine El Abidine Ben Ali. His center-left party, the Congress for the Republic formed a coalition with the Islamist party Ennahdha, and the social democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties.

On December, 12 the national constituent assembly, democratically elected back on October 23, chose Moncef Marzouki as President. He obtained 153 of the 202 votes cast.

“I represent a country, a people, a revolution. Long live Tunisia. I say to those members who gave me their votes, thank your for your trust, and for those who did not vote for me, your message has been received … I know that you are going to hold me to account,” said Mr Marzouki after the vote.

Mr Marzouki's first tweet as a President was the following [fr]:

Merci beaucoup de m'avoir accorder votre confiance. Je ferai tout pour être à la hauteur. Vive la #tunisie

Thanks a lot for your trust in me. I will do my best to live up to this responsibility. Long live Tunisia

Marzouki Critics:

"One Candidate for One Ballot" Comments Photographer Hamideddine Bouali

His critics claim that his obsession with power, made Marzouki give up his secular values, when his party entered into coalition with Ennahdha.

extrablog writes: [ar]

رئيسنا قلب الفيستا من “لا ليس الإسلام هو الحل ” إلى غلام خوانجية
Our President has completely abandoned his quote “Islam is not the solution” to become a boy for Islamists

Though, Marzouki won a seat in the assembly, his critics believe that he was not democratically elected to become a President.

Firas tweets [fr]:

Ça me fait marrer quand j'entends sur #TTN et partout ailleurs que notre président actuel est “élu”. #tnAC #Marzouki #Tunisie

It makes me really mad when I hear on national TV and elsewhere that our president is ”elected”

Kacem Jlidi explains in a blog post called The Arab Spring’s First Elected President – Almost:

What makes the presidential appointment not such a happy news for the Tunisians, even though many claim that he has a clean past, is that the coalition in the constituent assembly’s majorities: Ennahda with 89 seats, CPR with 29 seats and Ettakatol with 20 seats had agreed already to appoint Moncef Marzouki as a president.

And Oussema El-Guesmi tweets: [ar]

@Moncef_Marzouki تهانينا سيدي الرئيس. لكن لا تنتظر منا التطبيل والتهليل فذاك عهد قد ولى بلا رجعة. كان الله في عونكم
Congratulations Mr President, but don't expect us to applaud to you, that period that will never come back. May Allah help you

Marzouki Supporters:

Marzouki is considered as a human rights activist, an enlightened, and a secular man, who stood up against the dictatorship of Ben Ali, by his supporters.

Wlidha writes: [fr]

Docteur Moncef Marzouki est désormé le premier président de la république tunisienne démocratique .
Un homme vrai , au passé riche de lutte pour la démocratie et les droits de l'homme. Monsieur le Président.. On vous accorde notre confiance et on est avec vous.. Ne nous décevez pas.

Doctor Moncef Marzouki is the first President of the democratic Republic of Tunisia. A true man, with a past rich with fighting for democracy, and human rights. Mr President..We trust you, and we are behind you. Do not deceive us

Emna El Hammi tweets: [fr]

Pas moyen de dormir ce soir, je crois que #Marzouki président a bcp plus d'effet sur moi que je pensais :)

I can't sleep tonight, I think that #Marzouki as a President has more effect on me than I would have expected

And Faten adds: [fr]

#Marzouki:Bon il faut passer cette étape de critique de Marzouki et penser à 100 ans d'avenir de notre pays en étant attentif aux décisions.

#Marzouki: We should get over this Marzouki criticism period, and think about the upcoming 100 years in the future of our country, by being attentive to the decision making process

Moncef Marzouki will stay in power as President until the new constitution of the country is drafted, and legislative, and presidential elections are held. Despite the controversy, and the criticism, these are historic moments for Tunisia according to Aljazeera correspondent, Nazanine Moshiri who tweeted:

This is a big day for #Tunisia. #Moncef #Marzouki is the first democratically elected President in the Arab world.

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