Jabali tasked with forming Tunisia government

December 14, 2011

Hamadi Jabali, secretary-general of Al Nahda, the moderate Islamist party that won the national elections in Tunisia, was on Wednesday tasked with forming the new government.

“The President Munsif Al Marzouqi has charged Hamadi Jabali, the candidate of the party that won the highest number of seats in the national constituent assembly, with forming the government,” a statement from the president’s office said.

Twenty-one days

Jabali will have 21 days to present the government to the president, the statement said.

The new cabinet will be in charge after it is approved by the constituent assembly, and until that date, the interim government will continue to run the affairs of the country, according to the statement.

“I will seek to form the government as soon as possible so that it can start its work in the service of the people and address problems,” Jabali said in his first statement after the nomination. “The people are waiting for answers and solutions,” he said.

The nomination of Jabali was part of a deal reached by Al Nahda and its partners in the coalition, the Congress for the Republic, the first runner up in the elections, and Ettakatol, the Forum, which came fourth in the October 23 national polls.

Under the deal, Al Marzouqi, the leader of the Congress for the Republic, became president and Mustafa Bin Jaafar, the leader of Ettakatol was elected the Speaker of the constituent assembly.

Born in the coastal city of Sousse, one of Tunisia’s best-known tourism resorts, on January 12, 1949, Jebali received a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Tunis and Master’s in photovoltaic engineering in Paris.

He used his expertise in solar energy and wind power to found an enterprise in Sousse.

In 1981, he joined the emerging Movement of the Islamic Tendency and became the managing editor of Al Fajr (The Dawn), the weekly newspaper of Al Nahda.

In November 1990, he was sentenced by a military court to one year in prison for “defamation of a judicial institution” after the Islamist newspaper published an essay “When will military courts, serving as special courts, be abolished?”

In May 1992, the government said that Al Nahda had allegedly plotted to kill President Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali and establish an Islamic state.

Jabali, together with 170 other Al Nahda members, were charged in August with “attempt to overthrow the regime.

He was sentenced to 16 years in prison for “membership in an illegal organisation” and “attempted change of the nature of the state.”

Jabali spent 10 years in solitary confinement and he was released in February 2006.




About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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