David Short
Appointment of new Tunisian Prime Minister - 25 February 2011
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Veteran pol, Béji Caïdi Essebsi, replaced Mohamed Ghannouchi as Tunisian prime minister after
renewed protests over Ghannouchi’s links with the ruling RCD government under exiled former
president Ben Ali.

Born in 1926, Essebsi is a lawyer as well as a politician, and studied law in Paris.  He was an adviser to
Tunisia’s first post-independence president, Habib Bourguiba.  

In 1963, he was appointed director-general of the Sûreté Nationale.  Two years later, he became minister
for the interior, and served as defence minister between 1969 and 1970.  Essebsi then served as Tunisia’s
ambassador to Paris and Bonn.

After a period of opposition in support of political reform in the 1970s and editor of the opposition
magazine, Democracy, he rejoined the government in 1980, first in the office of the Prime Minister then
as foreign minister in 1981.  He retired from political life in 1994.