Beji Caid Essebsi
|Beji Caid Essebsi
الباجي قائد السبسي
|5th President of Tunisia|
31 December 2014
|Prime Minister||Mehdi Jomaa
|Preceded by||Moncef Marzouki|
|Prime Minister of Tunisia|
27 February 2011 – 24 December 2011
|President||Fouad Mebazaa (Acting)
|Preceded by||Mohamed Ghannouchi|
|Succeeded by||Hamadi Jebali (as head of government)|
|President of Chamber of Deputies|
14 March 1990 – 9 October 1991
|President||Zine El Abidine Ben Ali|
|Preceded by||Slaheddine Baly|
|Succeeded by||Habib Boularès|
|Minister of Foreign Affairs|
15 April 1981 – 15 September 1986
|Prime Minister||Mohammed Mzali
|Preceded by||Hassen Belkhodja|
|Succeeded by||Hédi Mabrouk|
|Born||Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi
29 November 1926
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
|Political party||Neo Destour/PSD/RCD (1941-2011)
Call of Tunisia (Nidaa Tounes) (2012-present)
|Spouse(s)||Chadlia Saïda Farhat|
Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi (or es-Sebsi, Arabic: محمد الباجي قائد السبسي, Muhammad al-Bājī Qā’id as-Sibsī😉 is a Tunisian politician who has been President of Tunisia since December 2014. Previously he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011.
Essebsi is the founder of the Nidaa Tounes political party, which won a plurality in the 2014 parliamentary election. In December 2014, he won the first regular presidential election following the Tunisian Revolution, becoming Tunisia’s first freely and directly elected president.
Born in Sidi Bou Said to a family from the Tunisian landed élite, he is a great-grandson of Ismail Caïd Essebsi, a Sardinian kidnapped by Tunisian corsairs along the coasts of Sardinia at the beginning of the nineteenth century who became a mamluk leader raised with the ruling family. He was later recognized as a free man when he became an important member of the government.
He has two sons and two daughters.
Essebsi is currently 91 years old and is the second-oldest current head of state after Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth realms, thus making him the oldest democratically elected head of state in the world.
Essebsi’s first involvement in politics came in 1941, when he joined the Neo Destour youth organization in Hammam-Lif. He studied law in Paris and became a lawyer in 1952 at the Tunis bar, where he began his career with the defence of Neo Destour activists. Beji Caid Essebsi was a follower of Tunisia’s post-independence leader Habib Bourguiba. He then joined Bourguiba as an adviser following the country’s independence from France in 1956.
From 1957 to 1971, he performed various functions such as director of the regional administration, general director of the Sûreté nationale, Interior Minister from 5 July 1965 to 8 September 1969, Minister-Delegate to the Prime Minister, Defence Minister from 7 November 1969 to 12 June 1970, and then Ambassador in Paris.
From October 1971 to January 1972, he advocated greater democracy in Tunisia and resigned his function, then returned to Tunis.
In April 1981, he came back to the government under Mohamed Mzali as Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving until September 1986.
In 1987, he switched allegiance following Ben Ali’s removal of Bourguiba from power. He was appointed as Ambassador to Germany. From 1990 to 1991, he was the President of the Chamber of Deputies.
Interim Prime Minister in 2011
On 27 February 2011, in the aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution, Tunisian Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi resigned following a day of clashes in Tunis with five protesters being killed. On the same day, acting President Fouad Mebazaa appointed Beji Caid Essebsi as the new Prime Minister, describing him as “a person with an impeccable political and private life, known for his profound patriotism, his loyalty and his self-sacrifice in serving his country.” The mostly young protesters however continued taking their discontent to the streets, criticizing the unilateral appointment of Caïd Essebsi without further consultation.
On 5 May accusations of the former Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi that a coup d’etat was being prepared against the possibility of the Islamist Ennahda Party winning the Constituent Assembly election in October, again led to several days of fierce anti-Government protests and clashes on the streets. In the interview disseminated on Facebook, Rajhi called Caïd Essebsi a “liar”, whose government had been manipulated by the old Ben Ali circles. Caïd Essebsi strongly rejected Rajhi’s accusations as “dangerous and irresponsible lies, [aimed at spreading] chaos in the country” and also dismissed him from his post as director of the High Commission for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, which he had retained after being dismissed from the office as Interior Minister already on March 8. Nevertheless, Ennahda’s president Rached Ghannouchi further fueled the suspicions, stating that “Tunisians doubt the credibility of the Transitional Government.”
After the elections in October, Caïd Essebsi left office on 24 December 2011 when the new Interim President Moncef Marzouki appointed Hamadi Jebali of the Islamist Ennahda, which had become the largest parliamentary group.
On 22 December 2014, official election results showed that Essebsi had defeated incumbent President Moncef Marzouki in the second round of voting, receiving 55.68% of the vote. After the polls closed the previous day, Beji Caid Essebsi said on local television that he dedicated his victory to “the martyrs of Tunisia”.
President of Tunisia
Essebsi was sworn in as President on 31 December 2014 at the age of 88. He vowed on that occasion to “be president of all Tunisian men and women without exclusion” and stressed the importance of “consensus among all parties and social movements”.
On 3 August 2016, Beji Caid Essebsi appointed Youssef Chahed as a prime minister as the parliament withdrew confidence from Habib Essid’s government.
In 2017 he supports changing Tunisian law to allow daughters to inherit an equal share to sons and to allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men — both explicitly forbidden under Islamic law.
Tunisian national honours
- Grand Collar of the Order of Independence (automatic when taking office)
- Grand Collar of the Order of the Republic (automatic when taking office)
- Algeria: Medal of the President of the Republic of Algeria (3 January 2013)
- Jordan : Collar of the Order of Al-Hussein bin Ali (20 October 2015)
- Sweden : Knight of Royal Order of the Seraphim (4 november 2015)
- Bahrain: Grand Commander of the Order of Cheikh Issa ben Salmane Al Khalifa (27 January 2016)
- Italy : Knight Grand Cross with Collar of Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (8 January 2017)
- Palestine : Grand Collar of the State of Palestine (6 July 2017)
- Bourguiba : le bon grain et l’ivraie, éd. Sud Éditions, Tunis, 2009
- La Tunisie : la démocratie en terre d’islam (with Arlette Chabot), éd. Plon, Paris, 2016
A Video About Beji Caid Essebsi
Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is in Tunisia on a two-day official visit(Dec 28, 2017), at the invitation of his counterpart, Beji Caid Essebsi. During the visit, Tunisian cabinet ministers and their Turkish counterparts signed 4 agreements in trade, military, security, and environmental fields. Tunis and Ankara have agreed to increase the volume of economic exchange which is estimated at over one billion USD.