Bourguiba, Habib(hä`bēb bo͝orgē`bə), 1903–2000, Tunisian statesman, president of Tunisia (1957–87), b. Monastir. Early active in the Destour party, he was at first an advocate of close cooperation with France. Later, however, he became a staunch nationalist and in 1934 formed the Neo-Destour party. Because of its anti-French agitation, the party was outlawed several times and Bourguiba was often imprisoned. In 1946 he escaped to Cairo and later went to the United States to promote Tunisian nationalism. He was imprisoned again in 1949. In 1954 he was released to negotiate the agreement that led to Tunisian autonomy that year and to independence in 1956, when he was elected prime minister. In 1957 he deposed the bey and was chosen president of the republic by the constituent assembly. A passionate orator, shrewd tactician, and moderate modernizer, Bourguiba built a relatively secular and Westernized Tunisia and maintained close ties with the United States and favored negotiation with Israel. His government met with opposition from Islamic fundamentalists in the mid-1980s. Although named (1975) president for life, he was deposed by Prime Minister Ben AliBen Ali, Zine el-Abidine
, 1936–, president of Tunisia (1987–2011). Educated in France and the United States, he entered the army and became ambassador to Poland (1980–94), minister of national security (1984–86), and interior minister (1986–87).
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Born Aug. 3, 1903, in Munastir. Tunisian politician and statesman.
A jurist by education and profession, Bourguiba graduated from the faculty of law at the Sorbonne and the Haute Ecole des Sciences Politiques in Paris in 1927. He had joined the Destour Party in 1922 and became the leader of its radical wing. From 1934, after the split in the Destour Party, he became secretary-general and then chairman of the Neo-Destour Party, which became the Socialist Destour Party in 1964. As a participant in the struggle for Tunisian independence he was arrested by the French colonial authorities in 1934 and again in 1938. In 1952 he was arrested and sent out of the country. He returned in June 1955. After the proclamation of Tunisian independence in March 1956 he became head of government. He became president on July 25, 1957, and, at the same time, head of government of the Tunisian Republic until November 1969.