Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Picture of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

Date of Birth: 09/03/1936

Age: 80

Place of birth: Hammam-Sousse

Nationality: Tunisia

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali (biography)


Tunisians well remember how on Saturday, November 7, 1987 6 hours 30 minutes, the radio suddenly interrupted the concert of popular Lebanese singer Feyruz and reported that 84-year-ny life the President Habib Bourguiba removed from his post, that "Father of the Nation "I held since the proclamation of the republic-sheniya in 1957

The operation from the shift Bourguiba carried out without a shot a group of prominent public figures, headed by Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. He slightly agitated voice read his address to the nation, izve Stephen compatriots that this decision was taken in line with the 57-th article of Constitution and on the basis of copper-Qing opinion (it was signed by the seven leading physicians, and then assured the public prosecutor) about the health of the elderly president.

- Taking into consideration that the age of Bourguiba and the disease does not allow him to carry out his duties, - announced the Prime Minister - I considered it my national duty to take the head of state and commander in chief function-voor-conjugated forces.

The same day, Ben Ali took the oath at a plenary-seeded Danish Parliament in the presence of members of the new Cabinet ministers and senior officers of the Tunisian army. By the decision of the ruling Socialist Party dusturovskoy in accordance with Article 23 of the statute of the party of Ben Ali he became its chairman.

Everything went peacefully, without any resistance, and above all, in the framework of the Constitution. The era of Habib Bourguiba, who liked to say that such a man as he is, it will be difficult to replace. The era of Ben Ali ...

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The second president of the Republic of Tunisia was born September 3, 1936 in Hammam-Sousse. The family was a large - it grew six boys and five girls. Secondary education at the Lycee in Sousse, Being a high school student, was involved in an active underground worker, of the independence of their country. He fought in the ranks of the youth organization, as a liaison between the regional offices of the Socialist Party dusturovskoy. It`s not how many times, arrested, thrown in jail, subjected to millet.

After the proclamation of independence of Tunisia 20-year-old Ben Ali sent to study in France among those who have been called to form the nucleus of the future national armed forces. There he graduated from the Higher Military School of Saint-Cyr. Later, Ben Ali received diplomas least prestigious military academies - artillery school at Chalons-sur-Marne (France), Higher School of Intelligence and Security and the Air Defense School (USA). Military rank - General. Decorated Tunisian and foreign orders. He - holder of the Order of Independence and the Republic.

Since 1958, he - an officer of the General Staff of the Tunisian army. Last post - head of the military without-rity. In 1974, Ben Ali appointed military attache to Morocco, where he returned in 1977 and became chief of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. In December of the same year he was transferred to the post of Director General of the National Security Service.

In April 1980, Ben Ali again sent abroad. At this time - the ambassador to Warsaw, returning to Tunisia in January 1984, he again took the former position in the Service of national-security. Ten months later, he was raised with appointing the Secretary of State for National Security Affairs. A year later, he became Minister of this department.

April 28, 1986, President Ben Ali Bourguiba appoints Minister of the Interior.

- He deserves it - then said the "father of the nation". - He has a strong grip, and he will be able to keep the country in their hands.

(In parenthesis, I note that Ben Ali, according to the set-GIH employees of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, has established itself in this position the enemy extreme measures, in particular the use of force, and the more weapons).

In June of the same year, at the 12th congress of the ruling Socialist Party cal dusturovskoy he was elected to the Politburo and one-temporarily deputy general sec -General.

In mid-1987, during a regular cabinet reorganization raises Bourguiba, Ben Ali to the rank of Minister of State, which has strengthened its growing political influence. A October of the same year "supreme fighter" as always was named head of state appoints Ben Ali`s prime minister (the fifth), which automatically became his official successor, as well as the Secretary General of the Co-tsialisticheskoy dusturovskoy party. At the same time he retained the post of interior minister. On the day of the appointment of Prime Minister Ben Ali-ment formulated the goal of his political agenda - to build Tu-Nisa prosperous, open and peaceful society, based on justice-ing and tolerance.

After a meeting held on October 5, 1987, one minister said of Ben Ali.

- He is not chosen by chance, because corresponds to the situation in Tunisia. He knows the existing problems, put an end to the confusion and settling accounts.

It must be emphasized that at the time of the appointment of Ben Ali as prime minister of the country`s political life virtually stopped due to "unpredictable actions of the palace owner in Carthage." Obviously, it was then that Ben Ali began to consider the displacement of the elder President, especially as the post of head of government gave him the opportunity to vospol-call of the 57th article of the Constitution. It provides that "in the event of the death of the president or his resignation," the prime minister takes over the duties of President (and glavnokoman-blowing of the armed forces) and remains so until the next parliamentary elections, held every five years.

And Ben Ali took advantage of his constitutional challenge.


When the morning of November 7, 1987 Ben Ali addressed the people, I think few people could in those hours to assume that his statement later received the official name of the "Declaration of November 7" would be a genuine program of political action, and its principles will quickly find implementation of the social life.

In his first address, he prize-shaft countrymen to cooperate with the new regime in a "climate of confidence, security and peace of mind." It is the duty of all the people, he said the new president is "the preservation of the independence of the homeland and its progress." All members of society should contribute to the country`s administrative office within the "responsible democracy" and to respect "the sovereignty of the people."

In foreign policy, said Ben Ali, will remain cooperative relations with all countries, "especially brotherly and friendly" Tunisia remains faithful to its commitment at the international level. He attached special importance to the preservation of an "Islamic, Arab, African and Mediterranean solidarity on the basis of common interests."

The first step of the new president in the way of secu-cheniya civil liberties was the release of all political prisoners, including persons belonging to extremist organizations-sky "Jihad al-Islami" ( "Islamic Holy War") and the "Islamic Movement direction".

(According to Tunisian media, is now in the country there is no man, jailed for their thoughts and Ube-Suppress.)

By order of Ben Ali was raised in the service group of senior military officers, made some permutation ne-guide Tunisian army. Then the president abolished the Court of State Security, abolished the post of Prosecutor General of the Republic`s. He limited the right to four days police to detain persons on suspicion, to transfer their jurisdictions.

In July 1988, Tunisia became the first Arab country to ratify the convention banning the use of torture, which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1984

The expression of the will of the President "to go faster and far" was the holding in 1988 of the Congress of the ruling Socialist-cal dusturovskoy Party, renamed the democratic-mechanical Constitutional Rally (RCD), which proclamation-power policy of democratization of social life, to achieve pluralism, building the rule of law .

Shortly before the opening of the first Congress of President Ben Ali`s RCD held the government reorganization, shifting some of the former regime ministers. He went for it only to the Congress approved a number of its bold moves, direction-represented in the implementation of political and economic reforms. In addition, it was very necessary, as the Tunisian press wrote, "to take over this omnipresent game, forged Bourguiba".

And Ben Ali won by the delegates approved liquidation-mendations of many former privileges of the ruling party. The idea was to change the style of its work, to separate the party from the great-ernment does not consider it a legitimate only the representative of the people. According to correspondents covering the congress, delegates approved the proposal without enthusiasm, but without excessive bitterness and quibbles. Congress proclaimed policy of democratization of social life, the achievement of political pluralism, building the rule of law.

Noteworthy Congress emblem. It was iso-Braze hand drowning, which at the last moment grabbed the hand of another. After the speech of the head of the state in which it is ne-us list Bourguiba error and its environment, it became clear that the savior of the hand - this is without a doubt the hand of Ben Ali.

But to carry out an effective policy is difficult without the trust of the masses, if not impossible. It is well aware of the new political leadership. Day by day, step by step it was to win the sympathy of the people. President made several trips around the country, visiting schools and homes for the elderly, met with students and athletes, inquired about their needs. His popularity began to aspire-enforcement increase.

Another (no less important) part of the update-governmental various spheres of life in Tunisia was the signing on the eve of the first anniversary of the new regime of the National Pact - a kind of code of relations between the government, parties, societies, governmental and professional organizations.

- National Pact is neither a government program, no plan to create a coalition - Zaya forks president. - This is a national civilized project that reflects what we want to do for your country, to lie in wait-ka should be methods of implementation of our plans and vzaimoot-relationships between all partners without exception - parties and organizations. He - Ben Ali stressed - not replace neither the Constitution nor the laws in force. He must protect the country from any excesses that may occur in the activity of any of the partners.

Pact declared the protection of human rights, freedom of assembly, conscience and create political organizations, called for the ter-ance, denounced extremism in all its forms. In terms of foreign policy, he called for the creation of a just me-zhdunarodnogo order to guarantee a lasting peace that would open the way for humanity to progress, to protect him from the war and would have allowed the spirit of human solidarity reign in the world.

Wanting to prove the legitimacy of his regime, Ben Ali went on to hold early presidential elections in April 1989, although could use up to the end (ie until 1991) its mandate, which it has granted the constitution of the former regime. Ben Ali found that he could not continue to serve as the president`s powers in the name given to him by the people of the rule of law, which belonged not to him but to his predecessor,

Indeed, the day of his coming to power of Ben Ali spoke very negatively about the notorious article of the Constitution, which established the automatic continuity. He used it only in order to prevent the possibility of identify-displacement Bourguiba in violation of the law, the coup d`etat. Consequently, the early presidential elections combined new popular legitimacy, drawn in the voter-governmental urns, with the new provisions of the revised constitution. Thus, the institution of the presidency was to conform to the new alignment of political forces and himself was legitimate.

Those presidential and parliamentary elections, in which the at-took part over two million Tunisians, differed from previous ones in that many citizens were returned to the right to elect and be elected to representative bodies. They first took part in the election campaign, during co-Torah sounded unauthorized speech, put forward the most radical program. But before they had been deprived of all this, they fell treasury phrases and directives. Moreover, the country`s first-ever elections in Tunisia have participated-cal citizens living abroad.

Then the vast majority of voters voted for Ben Ali`s candidacy, nominated by the Democratic Constitutional Rally. It also received 141 candidates in the National Assembly.

- In order to deal with difficulties, - said pre-Presidents after the elections - it is necessary to create a single, monolith-tion and democratic society in which equal-possibility of be available to all.

whether the party will support a political challenge to the president? According to Ben Ali`s support. But for this it is necessary first of all to rejuvenate the existing urban kind of "number of lectures" local leaders more inclined to ensure that money-pooled ordinary citizens than to intensify Politi-cal debate.

As alleged supporters of Ben Ali, he felt that to continue dealing with people Bourguiba, then follow the path of the former president. However, a change in the party elite was slow and gradual resembled a blood transfusion in order to allow one to fully support the new course, and Dru-gim, too committed to the past - to move towards the exit and, finally, the third - the youth - to advance. In short, it was a question on the formation of generations of Ben Ali.

Triumph of the new president appreciated not only in Tunisia, but also outside it. "At the end of 1988 the French Centre for Social and Political Studies named Ben Ali" brow-century of the Year ", giving it the title of laureate of international pre-mission," Democracy and human rights ".


In the early years of Ben Ali, Tunisians are constantly given over-the question: what is really going on? Cleaning of the old building from the dust that has accumulated over the years of stagnation? Or resolute reorganization?

In other words, whether the change in style of policy change?

A style has really changed. And quite clearly, For example, the head of the state, known as a great worker, held a meeting for the meeting, demanding reports on the most delicate and complex issues. Listening to ministers, he made a mental note that in itself was a dumb-lovazhnym new for Tunisia.

Some ministers, lazy in the last years of Bourguiba, considered the working meetings held ezhed-to-day, in the presidential palace in Carthage, extremely Uto-mitelnymi.

- As many as twenty years, we listened in silence Bourguiba, who invited us only to speak to us - complained to one of the ministers. - The new President also listens especially us ...

Ben Ali himself often repeats:

- I first listen to the speaker, then thinking, and makes decisions.

But this is not all. If Bourguiba always acted apart from law, considering himself the sole bulwark of the rule of law, then with the arrival of Ben Ali, the constitution has become the main point of reference.

Incidentally, one of the first steps to change the style of the prohibition was to call the president "fahamat" ( "pre-voskhoditelstvo"), as they called Burgi-bu for thirty years. And again, the new head of state usually uses the "we" of his predecessor, saying only "I".

Unlike Bourguiba, Ben Ali had no illusions that granted by Allah to his people. He - the first among equals. It is also not interested in verbose declarations, as the majority-tion of Middle Eastern rulers. Partly because he - not the speaker, does not like to play on the audience as Bourguiba. In addition, quite a low-key nature of the new president-whether decreases its ability to use techniques to break in the cult of personality, which has been recently brought in Tunisia to edge-of,

Nevertheless, Ben Ali had enough character to cancel the set-Gia national holidays, directly related to the PWM-exist in the country of the cult of personality Habib Bourguiba: January 18 - the first arrest Bourguiba ... July 1st - triumphant return of Bourguiba in Tunisia ... August 3 - birthday Bourguiba ...

Once in power, Ben Ali began a fundamentally new foreign policy. The fact is that over the past ten years the reputation of Tunisian diplomatic corps suffered considerably, primarily due neposledo-quence in the foreign policy of Bourguiba. Ben Ali was able to restore the prestige of Tunisia in the international arena.

Thus, the country has come fix the era of de democracy, respect for human rights, the movement in the direction of cos-denmark law.

However, if the political enlightenment was indisputable nym, the economic and social situation in the first years of the reign of Ben Ali remained alarming. Suffice it to say that in Tunisia, with a population of 7.5 million. People there were around 300 thousand. Unemployed. Although social hardships did not affect the popularity of the president, the first speech Ben Ali testified that he understood that it is difficult to expect a decision.

Ben Ali realized that to innovate is particularly difficult is in the socio-economic sphere. As noted then Tunisian newspapers, in addition to publicize it will be the second, and perhaps the main problem, which will have to deal with new-th master Carthage Palace.

Another serious problem "which required immediate action - is" unapologetic advocates of Islam "According to local political observers to carry out cleaning in the political institutions of power and call to order a number of ministers, only the will was needed But to defuse the movement.. protests of Islamic fundamentalists, require much more: and tact and careful-ness and hardness, and cunning.

Ben Ali showed these qualities.

By the time he came to power had a strong position now banned party "An-Nahda" ( "Revival"), ASIC-vedovavshaya Islam and calls for the establishment in Tunisia "Islamic republic." President Ben Ali skillfully maneuvered with determination pursuing a line on strengthening its position and strengthen his personal power. He did this, as noted by the Paris-sky weekly "Jeune Afrique", "an iron hand in a velvet glove".

Party of "An-Nahda" accused (and quite spraved-Livo, Lombardy) in undermining state security, attempting to measurable-tion of the constitutional order and the attempted assassination of the head-of the state. Most party leaders have been arrested and sentenced to long prison terms. Clean in government and the army, were removed from mu-sulmanskie fundamentalists. Thus, the president and his supporters succeeded in eliminating the danger of Islamization of Tunisia, society, threatens the country with serious political and social consequences.

In addition, the National Covenant provides IP-Starting the mosques of the political struggle. They should stay-vatsya a place of worship. With this step, according to Tunisia, Ben Ali has limited prerogatives of Muslim clergy.

Nevertheless, the religious leaders of the country to the new pre-dent is not offended. According to them, Ben Ali deposed Bourguiba, to "return to Islam, the place that it deserves", as well as to eliminate the "some of the obstacles to the freedom of religion."

Judging by the statements and activities of Ben Ali, he does not look like an ardent champion of Islam. And yet he has committed Paloma-operation in Mecca and kissed the Black Stone, which caused entu-ible masses of Tunisia. In one of the newspapers there was even a report about this trip, which was called "Islam in the heart." Many observers regarded this step the president as a desire to win over the masses of the people professing a moderate Islam, and cut the ground from under the feet of the irreconcilable.

The latter, incidentally, tried to eliminate one of the achievements that most Tunisians consider the most important in the country`s history since independence. This is the "code of laws", abolished in 1956, polygamy and gave Tunisian women the rights that are not in other Stra-tries of the Arab world. Women`s rights were further consoli-Rowan Parliament in August 1992. Violence against women in the family is now punishable by law, a woman can get a passport without the consent of the husband or father, and the state fr-Gaeta divorced women receive alimony. But perhaps the most important - in the case of divorce, children are no longer automatically the father.

Supporting women. Ben Ali and his supporters create a powerful social base for the resistance "backward Islam-sky thinking".


By 1989, under the leadership of the President has been developed economic program, it proposes to solve several problems at once. First of all, the three key: to increase the volume of investments to increase production, stimulate exports of national products and to create the most possible number of jobs for the unem-ployed.

Economic recovery is always important. But in a particular situation then in Tunisia, it was important not only in itself.

- If the recovery will take place, - he said at the time of Ben Ali - it will be a decisive argument in favor of the new leadership, which seeks to complement policy reforms hozjajstven-governmental success. In the end, this will be based vnut-rennyaya stability.

Admittedly, much has been achieved. The government released the majority of consumer and producer prices, reduced subsidies, the beginning of the liberalization of financial markets, lifted restrictions on a significant portion of imports, has made foreign investments that go to Tunisia downright flow. This means that the political situation in the country is stable and monitored by the authorities.

President Ben Ali does not conceal its main objective - the territory of his country should be extended, and the European space. Therefore Tunisia seeks closer ties with the European Community. Of course, not to the detriment of themselves, their interests and not at the expense of their citizens` pockets.

There are many numbers that illustrate Tunisia`s achievements in economic and social spheres. You can quote the times-personal politics, the president approve the internal line. And this is no exaggeration - the country`s crisis is long past due to a reasonable and well-thought-out management of the eco-mies; civil peace is maintained; the daily life of people - who will, who slowly - improving.

- Tunisians have regained their national pride - said recently, Ben Ali. - Despite the existing social and economic difficulties, they look to the future with optimism.

Well, for that they have all the bases. But most importantly, perhaps, that their president does not throw words to the wind, and performs promises.

The last presidential elections were held March 20, 1994 Hitherto this was not in the country - four-opposi- tional party instead of the usual "gift" in the form of repression for the first time won seats in parliament. Himself Ben Ali on the day he was elected head of state for a second five-year term. And not because it was the only nominee. A homo-mu, that he was and remains the leader of the nation. Figures close to it on the scale, in Tunisia there today.

Having received the trust of the people, Ben Ali has the right to seek a further two presidential mandates. That is, if all goes well, he will be in power 18 years - up to 70-years-his age. However, Bourguiba experience tells him that it is - the limit beyond which comes the catastrophe of old age and inability to conduct the affairs of state.

If you believe the rumors, Ben Ali is going to create a rule-governmental coalition of democratic and moderate-conservative parties. He believes that the existence of other parties should encourage the reforms initiated. It is - for an active dialogue with the opposition. There was even talk that Ben Ali, who wishes to speak on behalf of all Tunisians, th-ing to give up the post of party chairman.

On the personal life of Ben Ali is known very little. Spending time with the family because of the state of affairs almost can not. Few saw his wife and five children, even in the picture. They say the president feels a special attachment to the love-my granddaughter Mariam, to communicate with which cuts out the rare moments. And in the hobby space in the daily routine does not remain etsya all. Only mandatory jogging can be with a heavy-called vacation.

Summing up its activities, Ben Ali said not long ago:

- We were able to maintain the complementarity between refor Mami-political, economic and social. Reached the reconciliation between society and the state, between the Tunisians, representing all political forces. The situation changed in the country in a very positive way thanks to the results of our reforms.

Where is the president, who someday will say the same thing about Russia?