Preparing for the second round

Preparing for the second round06/12/2014 (Al Ahram – Egypt): The first multi-candidate presidential elections in Tunisia’s history have occasioned a number of ironies. The first round, held on Sunday, established the 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi as the politician with the greatest influence in the country after the 14 January 2011 Revolution that was ignited and spearheaded by young people.Constituting some 60 per cent of the population, the majority of this younger generation was born or opened their eyes to public affairs after Essebsi vanished from the political scene in 1991.The irony acquires another dimension with regard to the older generations who still carry painful memories of the senility of former president Habib Bourguiba before he was ousted by Zein Al-Abidine Ben Ali, later himself ousted in the 2011 Revolution, in the so-called “medical coup” of 1987.Those memories are filled with dozens of grim stories of how the institutions and resources of the state became the playgrounds for Bourguiba’s entourage including his wife Wassila Ben Ammar and dozens of other chilling stories as to how political decisions fell prey to the fluctuating whims of a national leader in the grip of failing health.




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