President of Tunisia
The President of Tunisia, formally known as the President of the Tunisian Republic is the head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 of Tunisia
Tunisia , officially the Tunisian RepublicThe long name of Tunisia in other languages used in the country is: , is the northernmost country in Africa. It is a Maghreb country and is bordered by Algeria to the west, Libya to the southeast, and the Mediterranean Sea to the north and east. Its area...

. Tunisia is a presidential republic
Presidential system
A presidential system is a system of government where an executive branch exists and presides separately from the legislature, to which it is not responsible and which cannot, in normal circumstances, dismiss it....

 in which the president is the head of the executive branch of government
Executive (government)
Executive branch of Government is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the state bureaucracy. The division of power into separate branches of government is central to the idea of the separation of powers.In many countries, the term...

 with the assistance of the Prime Minister of Tunisia
Prime Minister of Tunisia
The Prime Minister of the Tunisian Republic is the head of government of Tunisia. The Prime Minister is appointed by the President of Tunisia...

, formally the head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

. Under Article 44 of the Constitution of Tunisia
Constitution of Tunisia
The Constitution of Tunisia is the supreme law of the Tunisian Republic. The Constitution is the framework for the organization of the Tunisian government and for the relationship of the federal government with the governates, citizens, and all people within Tunisia...

, the president is also the commander-in-chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Tunisian Armed Forces.

According to the constitution, the president is elected by universal suffrage
Universal suffrage
Universal suffrage consists of the extension of the right to vote to adult citizens as a whole, though it may also mean extending said right to minors and non-citizens...

 for a term of five years. Currently, the president may be re-elected for an unlimited number of terms in office. This in contrast to the term limit
Term limit
A term limit is a legal restriction that limits the number of terms a person may serve in a particular elected office. When term limits are found in presidential and semi-presidential systems they act as a method to curb the potential for monopoly, where a leader effectively becomes "president for...

 of three terms that in place prior to June 2002, excluding the life presidency
President for Life
President for Life is a title assumed by some dictators to remove their term limit, in the hope that their authority, legitimacy, and term will never be disputed....

 that existed between 1975 and 1982.

For most of its history as an independent state
History of modern Tunisia
In its modern history, Tunisia has become a sovereign republic, called the al-Jumhuriyyah at-Tunisiyyah. Tunisia has over ten million citizens, almost all of Arab-Berber descent. The Mediterranean Sea is to the north and east, Libya to the southeast, and Algeria to the west. Tunis is the capital...

, Tunisia has lacked political freedom and has seen the violation of human rights
Human rights
Human rights are "commonly understood as inalienable fundamental rights to which a person is inherently entitled simply because she or he is a human being." Human rights are thus conceived as universal and egalitarian . These rights may exist as natural rights or as legal rights, in both national...

. Because of this, presidencial elections in Tunisia
Elections in Tunisia
Prior to the 2011 Tunisian revolution, Elections in Tunisia were held every five to six years, and elected both the president and members of both legislative branches to the national government of the Republic of Tunisia...

, such as that of 2009
Tunisian general election, 2009
Presidential and parliamentary elections were held in Tunisia on 25 October 2009. Results released on 26 October 2009 indicated a substantial victory for incumbent President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, who won the reelection for a fifth five-year term, and the governing Constitutional Democratic Rally...

, have lacked international credibility, with elections dominated by the ruling party, the Constitutional Democratic Rally
Constitutional Democratic Rally
The Constitutional Democratic Rally , also referred to by its French acronym RCD, formerly called Neo Destour then Socialist Destourian Party, was the governing party in Tunisia. The party was suspended by the minister of interior on February 6th awaiting a decision on its dissolution by judicial...

 and its previous incarnations as the Neo Destour
Neo Destour
The New Constitutional Liberal Party , most commonly known as Neo Destour, was a Tunisian political party that was founded by a group of nationalist politicians during the French protectorate.-History:...

 party and the Socialist Destourian Party
Socialist Destourian Party
The Socialist Destourian Party was the ruling political party of Tunisia from 1964 to 1988. Bahi Ladgham was the first Prime Minister from the party and Hédi Baccouche was the last. It was founded on October 22, 1964 and disbanded on February 27, 1988. Habib Bourgiba was the first president of the...


Since the promulgation
Promulgation is the act of formally proclaiming or declaring a new statutory or administrative law after its enactment. In some jurisdictions this additional step is necessary before the law can take effect....

 of a republican constitution in June 1959, three years after gaining independence from France
French Fourth Republic
The French Fourth Republic was the republican government of France between 1946 and 1958, governed by the fourth republican constitution. It was in many ways a revival of the Third Republic, which was in place before World War II, and suffered many of the same problems...

, Tunisia has had just two elected presidents. The first president was Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba
Habib Bourguiba was a Tunisian statesman, the Founder and the first President of the Republic of Tunisia from July 25, 1957 until 7 November 1987...

, who served as president from 1959 after effectively serving as the country's leader from 1956. He was removed from office in a coup d'état
Coup d'état
A coup d'état state, literally: strike/blow of state)—also known as a coup, putsch, and overthrow—is the sudden, extrajudicial deposition of a government, usually by a small group of the existing state establishment—typically the military—to replace the deposed government with another body; either...

 in 1987, during which he was declared medically unfit to perform his duties. His successor was Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Zine El Abidine Ben Ali is a Tunisian political figure who was the second President of Tunisia from 1987 to 2011. Ben Ali was appointed Prime Minister in October 1987, and he assumed the Presidency on 7 November 1987 in a bloodless coup d'état that ousted President Habib Bourguiba, who was...

, who served as president from 1987 until 2011, when he was forced from office during an uprising against his rule. Since 15 January 2011, the current acting president
Acting president
An Acting President is a person who temporarily fills the role of an organization's or country's president, either when the real president is unavailable or when the post is vacant .-See also:*Acting *Acting President of Pakistan*Acting President of Malta*Acting President of...

 has been Fouad Mebazaa
Fouad Mebazaa
Fouad Mebazaa is a Tunisian politician who has been President of Tunisia since 15 January 2011. He was active in Neo Destour prior to Tunisian independence, served as Minister of Youth and Sports, Minister of Public Health, and Minister of Culture and Information, and has been President of the...


Latest election

See also

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