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InternationalTunisia votes

November 21, 2011

Only months after popular protests led to the fall of its long-time dictator, Tunisia has chosen a human rights activist to be its interim president.

Moncef Marzouki, leader of the political party Congress for the Republic (CPR), will serve as president for the next year while a new constitution is being written. He was chosen a week after Tunisia held its first elections since the fall of its former dictator, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Ben Ali was ousted earlier this year in a popular uprising. That uprising sparked the Arab Spring protests that called for greater political freedoms and have led to changes throughout the region.

In Tunisia’s recent elections, excited and hopeful voters turned out to pick the representatives who will write a new constitution for the country. Marzouki was chosen to be president by the three parties that won the most seats in the recent elections. Ennahda, a moderate Islamist party, won the most  seats with 90. CPR won 30 seats, and Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties (also called Ettakatol) won 21 seats. The assembly will have a total of 217 seats.

Marzouki, a former doctor, led the Tunisian League of Human Rights and the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Opinion. He was jailed in 1994 for trying to run for president against Tunisia’s dictator at that time, Ben Ali.

Tunisia’s new assembly will meet soon to select an interim government before beginning the difficult task of writing a new constitution.

Published November 2011

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