Tunisia - The Past - Tunisian


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Tunisia - The Past


Nationalism was growing.

Bourguiba now acknowledged leader of the Destour Party, was forced to seek asylum, first in Egypt.

The next decade was to see him alternately overseas and under arrest.

As his influence, even from prison, succeeded in conciliating official thinking in Paris, so the intransigence of Tunisia's French colony increased.

Things had reached extremes when Bourguiba was permitted to return.

His arrival at La Goulette on 1st June 1956 is celebrated annually as Victory Day, although it was not until the following year that Bourguiba seized the opportunity of a governement change in France to negotiate independence.

Since the 1960's not only France again, but the USA, the UN, the World Bank, Germany, the Communist bloc and the Arab Oil states have all stepped in with aid to Tunisia.

The New Republic

Proclaimed on 25th July 1957, the new republic floundered through the first four years, meeting with French resistance.

But for all that, Bourguiba increased his prestige internationally as the only head of a deceloping state to say 'boo' to De Gaulle, and to Nasser.

Tunisia, a republic and idependent, was then goverened by President Zine Abidine Ben Ali. A former general, ambassador and prime minister, he succeeded Tunisia's first President, Habib Bourguiba, in a peaceful and constitutional deposition on 7th November 1987.

The republic is divided into 24 'governorats' in which a governeur or wali is the president's right-hand man.