Much of the Tunisian government of former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali remained in place when he was chased from the country by public protests, and Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi appeared to greatly increase his power by attemping to distance himself from Ben Ali and positioning himself as the new “interim” ruler.
But Ghannouchi’s close ties to the previous regime sparked a second flurry of protesters over the past few days which ended with him resigning as well, and celebrations in Tunis’ Casbah Square at the ouster of another symbol of the former regime.
But after Ben Ali’s 23 years of rule, many wondered if it would be easy to find a figure who wasn’t part of his regime to take the interim PM position. The answer for now is al-Baji al-Sebsi, an 84-year old diplomat who served as the Foreign Minister from 1981-1986, and has been a relatively anonymous MP since Ben Ali took power.
Tunisia is expected to have an election at some point in the next few months, with the interim government expecting it to take place in “mid-July at the last.” Protesters hope that the election will put an end to decades of dictatorial rule and months of massive public unrest.