Thursday, February 16, 2012

Moncef Marzouki

Moncef Marzouki (Arabic: المنصف المرزوقي‎ (al-Munif al-Marzūqī); born 7 July 1945) is a Tunisian human rights activist, physician and politician. On 12 December 2011 he was elected interim President of Tunisia by the Constituent Assembly.

Education and early human rights activities
Born in Grombalia, Tunisia, Marzouki studied medicine at the University of Strasbourg in France. Returning to Tunisia in 1979, he founded the Center for Community Medicine in Sousse and the African Network for Prevention of Child Abuse, also joining Tunisian League for Human Rights. In his youth, he had travelled to India to study Mahatma Gandhi's peaceful resistance. Later, he also travelled to South Africa to study its transition from Apartheid.

Human rights/political career
When the government cracked down violently on the Islamist Ennahda Movement in 1991, Marzouki confronted Tunisian President Ben Ali calling on him to adhere to the law. In 1993, Marzouki was a founding member of the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience, but he resigned after it was taken over by supporters of the government. He was arrested on several occasions on charges relating to the propagation of false news and working with banned Islamist groups. He subsequently founded the National Committee for Liberties. He became President of the Arab Commission for Human Rights and as of 17 January 2011 (2011 -01-17)[ref] continues as a member of its Executive Board.

In 2001, he founded the Congress for the Republic. This was banned in 2002, but Marzouki moved to France and continued running it.

Following President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's departure from Tunisia and the 2010–2011 Tunisian protests, Marzouki announced his return to Tunisia and his intention to run for the presidency.

President of the Tunisian Republic
On 12 December 2011, the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, a body elected to govern the country and draft a new constitution, elected Marzouki as the interim President of the Tunisian Republic, with 155 votes for, 3 against, and 42 blank votes. Blank votes were the result of a boycott from the opposition parties, who considered the new mini-constitution of the country an undemocratic one.

On 14 December, one day after his accession to office, he appointed Hamadi Jebali of the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement as Prime Minister. Jebali presented his government on 20 December.

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