Beji Caid Essebsi

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Beji Caid Essebsi
الباجي قائد السبسي
Beji Caid el Sebsi at the 37th G8 Summit in Deauville 006.jpg
Prime Minister of Tunisia
In office
27 February 2011 – 24 December 2011
President Fouad Mebazaa (Acting)
Moncef Marzouki
Preceded by Mohamed Ghannouchi
Succeeded by Hamadi Jebali
President of Chamber of Deputies
In office
14 March 1990 – 9 October 1991
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Preceded by Slaheddine Baly
Succeeded by Habib Boularès
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 April 1981 – 15 September 1986
Prime Minister Mohammed Mzali
Rachid Sfar
Preceded by Hassen Belkhodja
Succeeded by Hédi Mabrouk
Personal details
Born (1926-11-26) 26 November 1926 (age 88)
Sidi Bou Said, Tunisia
Political party Nidaa Tounes
Other political
Independent (2011–2012)
RCD (Before 2011)
Spouse(s) Chadlia Saïda Farhat
Children Amel
Mohamed Hafedh
Religion Islam

Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi (or el-Sebsi, Arabic: محمد الباجي قائد السبسي‎, Muhammad al-Bājī Qā’id as-Sabsī; born 29 November 1926) is a Tunisian lawyer and politician. From 27 February 2011 to 24 December 2011, he was the Prime Minister of Tunisia.[1][2] He previously served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986. He is the founder of the Nidaa Tounes party and is the party's candidate for the November 2014 presidential election.

Personal life[edit]

Born in Sidi Bou Said to a family from the beylical agricultural makhzen, he is a great-grandson of Ismail Caïd Essebsi, a mamluk of Tunisian corsairs in Sardinia at the beginning of the 19th century, raised with the beylical family and later an important member of the beylical administration.[3][4]

He has two sons and two daughters.

Political career[edit]

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. After Tunisia's independence in 1956, he joined Prime Minister Habib Bourguiba as an adviser. 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.[4]

In 1987, he was appointed as Ambassador to Germany. From 1990 to 1991 he was the President of the Chamber of Deputies. His last parliamentary mandate ended in 1994.

Interim premier minister in 2011[edit]

On 27 February 2011, in the aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution, Tunesian 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 Caïd Essebsi 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.[5]

On May 5, accusations of the former Interior Minister Farhat Rajhi, that a Coup d'etat was being prepared for the case that the Islamist Ennahda party won the Constituent Assembly election in October, again lead to several days of fierce anti-Government protests and clashes on the streets.[6] In the Interview disseminated on facebook, Rajhi called Caïd Essebsi a "liar", whose governement had been manipulated by the old Ben Ali circles.[7] Caïd Essebsi strongly rejected Rajhis 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, Ennahdas president Rached Ghannouchi further fueled the suspicions stating that "Tunisians doubt the credibility of the Transitional Government."[6]

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 indeed became the strongest parliamentary faction.[8]

Founder of Nidaa Tounes[edit]

Following his departure from office, Caïd Essebsi founded the secular Nidaa Tounes party, which won a plurality of the seats in the parliamentary election of October 2014. He is the party's candidate in the November presidential election.[9]


  1. ^ Tunisian PM Mohammed Ghannouchi resigns over protests, BBC News, 27 February 2011
  2. ^ Tarek Amara, Tunisian prime minister resigns amid protests, Reuters, 27 February 2011
  3. ^ Mohamed El Aziz Ben Achour, Catégories de la société tunisoise dans la deuxième moitié du XIXe siècle, éd. Institut national d'archéologie et d'art, Tunis, 1989 (French)
  4. ^ a b Ridha Khefi, "Béji Caïd Essebsi", Jeune Afrique, 13 March 2005 (French)
  5. ^ Guidi, Francesco (1 March 2011). "Tunisian Prime Minister Mohammed Gannouchi resigns". About Oil. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Guidi, Francesco (9 May 2011). "Tension returns to Tunisia with protests against the Transitional Government". About Oil. Retrieved 13 November 2014. 
  7. ^ « Farhat Rajhi fonce, tête baissée, pour l'élection présidentielle », Business News, publié le 6 mai 2011, consulté le 6 mai 2011.
  8. ^ Mzioudet, Houda (14 December 2011), "Ennahda’s Jebali Appointed as Tunisian Prime Minister", Tunisia, retrieved 21 December 2011 
  9. ^ Monica Marks (29 October 2014). "The Tunisian election result isn’t simply a victory for secularism over Islamism". Retrieved 9 November 2014. 
Political offices
Preceded by
Hassen Belkhodja
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hédi Mabrouk
Preceded by
Slaheddine Baly
President of the Chamber of Deputies
Succeeded by
Habib Boularès
Preceded by
Mohamed Ghannouchi
Prime Minister of Tunisia
Succeeded by
Hamadi Jebali