Moncef Marzouki

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Moncef Marzouki
المنصف المرزوقي
Moncef Marzouki2.jpg
3rd President of Tunisia
In office
13 December 2011 – 31 December 2014
Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi
Hamadi Jebali
Ali Laarayedh
Mehdi Jomaa
Preceded by Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
Succeeded by Beji Caid Essebsi
Member of the Constituent Assembly
for Nabeul's 2nd district
In office
22 November 2011 – 13 December 2011
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Samia Abbou
President of the Congress for the Republic
In office
24 July 2001 – 13 December 2011
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Abderraouf Ayadi (Acting)
President of the Tunisian Human Rights League
In office
12 March 1989 – 5 February 1994
Preceded by Mohamed Charfi
Succeeded by Taoufik Bouderbala
Personal details
Born (1945-07-07) 7 July 1945 (age 70)
Grombalia, Tunisia
Political party Congress for the Republic and People's Movement of citizens
Spouse(s) Beatrix Rhein
Children 2
Alma mater University of Strasbourg
Website Official website

Mohamed Moncef Marzouki (Arabic: محمد المنصف المرزوقي‎; Muhammad al-Munṣif al-Marzūqī, born 7 July 1945) is a Tunisian politician who was President of Tunisia from 2011[1][2][3] to 2014. Through his career he has been a human rights activist, physician and politician. On 12 December 2011, he was elected as President of Tunisia by the Constituent Assembly.

Early life[edit]

Born in Grombalia, Tunisia, Marzouki was the son of a Qadi. His father, being a supporter of Salah Ben Youssef (Bourguiba's opponent), would emigrate to Morocco in the late 1950s because of political pressures.[4] Marzouki finished his secondary education in Tangier, where he obtained the Baccalauréat in 1961.[4] He then went to study medicine at the University of Strasbourg in France. Returning to Tunisia in 1979, he founded the Center for Community Medicine in Sousse and the African Network for Prevention of Child Abuse, also joining Tunisian League for Human Rights.[5] In his youth, he had travelled to India to study Mahatma Gandhi's non-violent resistance.[6] Later, he also travelled to South Africa to study its transition from apartheid.[7]

Political career[edit]

When the government cracked down violently on the Islamist Ennahda Movement in 1991, Marzouki confronted Tunisian President Ben Ali calling on him to adhere to the law.[7] In 1993, Marzouki was a founding member of the National Committee for the Defense of Prisoners of Conscience, but he resigned after it was taken over by supporters of the government. He was arrested on several occasions on charges relating to the propagation of false news and working with banned Islamist groups. He subsequently founded the National Committee for Liberties. He became President[5] of the Arab Commission for Human Rights and as of 17 January 2011 continues as a member of its Executive Board.[8]

In 2001, he founded the Congress for the Republic.[9][10] This political party was banned in 2002, but Marzouki moved to France and continued running it.[5]

Following President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's departure from Tunisia and the Tunisian revolution, Marzouki announced his return to Tunisia and his intention to run for the presidency.[5]

President of Tunisia[edit]

On 12 December 2011, the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, a body elected to govern the country and draft a new constitution, elected Marzouki as the interim President of the Tunisian Republic, with 155 votes for, 3 against, and 42 blank votes.[11][12] Blank votes were the result of a boycott from the opposition parties, who considered the new mini-constitution of the country an undemocratic one.

On 14 December, one day after his accession to office, he appointed Hamadi Jebali of the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement as Prime Minister.[13] Jebali presented his government on 20 December.[14]

On 3 May 2012, Nessma TV owner Nabil Karoui and two others were convicted of "blasphemy" and "disturbing public order". The charges stemmed from the network's decision to broadcast a dubbed version of the 2007 Franco-Iranian film Persepolis, which includes several visual depictions of God. Karoui was fined 2,400 dinars for the broadcast, while the station's programming director and the president of the women's organization which provided dubbing for the film were fined 1,200 dinars.[15] Responding to the verdict, Marzouki stated to members of the press in the presidential palace in Tunis, "I think this verdict is bad for the image of Tunisia. Now people in the rest of the world will only be talking about this when they talk about Tunisia."[16]

In March 2014 President Marzouki lifted the state of emergency that had been in place since the outbreak of the 2011 revolution, and a top military chief said soldiers stationed in some of the country’s most sensitive areas would return to their barracks. The decree from President Marzouki said the state of emergency ordered in January 2011 is lifted across the country immediately. The state of emergency was imposed by longtime President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and maintained after he was overthrown. It was repeatedly renewed.[17]

In April 2014, he cut his pay by two-thirds, citing the state's need to be a model in dealing with the deteriorating financial situation.[18]

Marzouki was defeated by Beji Caid Essebsi in the November–December 2014 presidential election, and Essebsi was sworn in as President on 31 December 2014, succeeding Marzouki.[19]


On June 25, 2015, Marzouki participated in the Freedom Flotilla III to Gaza in Palestine. On June 29, during their approach to the territorial waters of Gaza, but while still in international waters, the flotilla intercepted by the Israeli army, then they were taken to the port of Ashdod, where they were interviewed. Marzouki was greeted by a delegation of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, but he declined to discuss with them. On June 30 he was deported to Paris, returning to Tunis on July 1, where he was greeted by hundreds of supporters.[20]

Personal life[edit]

From a first marriage, Moncef Marzouki has two daughters: Myriam and Nadia. In December 2011, during a private civil ceremony in Carthage Palace, he married Beatrix Rhein, a French physician.[21]


  1. ^ "Veteran human rights activist chosen as Tunisia's new interim president", The Telegraph, 15 November 2011 
  2. ^ Tunisian activist to serve as interim president, CBC News, 12 December 2011 
  3. ^ Jacobs, Donna (5 April 2013), "Tunisia’s bold gamble on democracy: ‘One day or another, we will win’", Diplomat & International Canada 
  4. ^ a b "Marzouki se fait allumer en Algérie". Maghreb Intelligence. 8 February 2012. Retrieved 15 May 2014. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Moncef Marzouki declares presidential candidacy". Al Arabiya. 16 January 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-16. 
  6. ^ "Marzouki: Tunisia’s opposition stalwart turned president". 2011-12-13. Retrieved 2012-04-11. 
  7. ^ a b Coll, Steve. "The Casbah Coalition. Tunisia's second revolution", The New Yorker, 4 April 2011. retrieved on April 30, 2011.
  8. ^ "What is the Arab Commission for Human Rights". 2011. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  9. ^ "Déclaration constitutive". Congress for the Republic. 2001-07-24. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  10. ^ "Première liste des membres fondateurs du CPR". Congress for the Republic. Archived from the original on 2011-01-17. Retrieved 2011-01-17. 
  11. ^ "Tunisia’s assembly elects human rights activist as interim president". Washington Post. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-12. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Tunisian activist, Moncef Marzouki, named president". BBC News. 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-12. 
  13. ^ Mzioudet, Houda (14 December 2011), "Ennahda’s Jebali Appointed as Tunisian Prime Minister",, retrieved 21 December 2011 
  14. ^ Tunisian PM presents new government, AFP, 20 December 2011, archived from the original on 21 December 2011, retrieved 21 December 2011 
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Controversial Tunisian Court Ruling Reflects Dilemmas of the Arab Spring". Time. 3 May 2012. 
  17. ^ [1]
  18. ^
  19. ^ "Tunisian secular leader Essebsi sworn in as new president", Reuters, 31 December 2014.
  20. ^ Tunisia's ex-president Marzouki arrives in France after detention in Israel, Ahram Online, 30 June 2015 
  21. ^ "La nouvelle 'Première dame' de Tunisie : Pourquoi tant de mystère?". Nawaat. 3 April 2013. 

External links[edit]

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Mohamed Charfi
President of the Tunisian Human Rights League
Succeeded by
Taoufik Bouderbala
Party political offices
New political party President of the Congress for the Republic
Succeeded by
Abderraouf Ayadi
Constituent Assembly of Tunisia
New constituency Member of the Constituent Assembly
for Nabeul's 2nd district

Succeeded by
Samia Abbou
Political offices
Preceded by
Fouad Mebazaa
President of Tunisia
Succeeded by
Beji Caid Essebsi