Tunisia New Era Day

Tunisia New Era Day (Ben Ali's Accession to Power)

November 7
On November 7, 1987, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali assumed control of Tunisia, becoming the nation's second president. He argued that the country's first president, Habib Bourguiba, was in bad health. Muslim fundamentalists had taken advantage of the situation to engage in terrorist actions against the state. Bourguiba, too, had been in power for 30 years under a one-party government that had strayed from its democratic ideals. Tunisia New Era Day celebrates the accession of Ben Ali to power.
Ben Ali claims to have made great strides in safeguarding the freedoms and human rights of his people. On New Era Day in 2007, he announced a number of measures designed to promote democracy and the rule of law. These included lowering the voting age from 20 to 18, allocating at least 30 percent of the candidate slots within his own Constitutional Democratic Rally party to women, and allowing opposition political groups greater access to the media. But Muslim parties are still not recognized, and Ben Ali has been accused of using excessive police force against political opponents.
CONTACTS:
Embassy of Tunisia
1515 Massachusetts Ave. N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20005
202-862-1850; fax: 202-862-1858