Tunisia installs Marzouki as president
TUNIS / WASHINGTON
Marzouki waves after casting his vote at the constituent assembly. REUTERS photoTunisia’s new president Moncef Marzouki was sworn in yesterday before the country’s constituent assembly as the nation turned a new page after the revolution which ousted the repressive Ben Ali regime.
“I will be the guarantor of the national interests, the state of laws and institutions. I will be faithful to the martyrs and to the objectives of the revolution,” Marzouki said as he took his oath of office with his hand on the Koran, Agence France-Presse reported.
Members of the constitutional assembly, Tunisia’s interim parliament, voted to elect Moncef Marzouki as president, the second most powerful role after the prime minister Dec. 12. A fierce opponent of ousted dictator Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, Marzouki, 66, was elected with 153 votes in the 217-member assembly, with three of the 202 deputies present voting against, two abstaining and 44 casting blank ballots. Marzouki is a former dissident, who was imprisoned and then exiled, is respected by many Tunisians for his implacable opposition to the autocratic Ben Ali. As president, he will be a secularist counterweight to the moderate Islamist party which is now Tunisia’s dominant political force.
Meanwhile, the United States Dec. 12 welcomed Tunisia’s election of veteran opposition leader Moncef Marzouki as the country’s new president. “It’s another positive step for Tunisia in its democratic transition,” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner told reporters. “And we stand ready to support them as they move forward.” Marzouki was elected a month and a half after the north African country held its first post-revolution election.