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Oral history interview with Moncef Marzouki, 2017

Creator: Marzūqī, Munṣif, 1945-
Project: Tunisian Transition oral history collection.
(see all project interviews)
Phys. Desc. :Transcript: 18 pages
Location: Columbia Center for Oral History
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Biographical Note

Moncef Marzouki was President of Tunisia from 2011 to 2014. During his career he has been a human rights activist, physician, and politician. On December, 12 2011, he was elected President of Tunisia by the National Constituent Assembly (ANC). Growing up in Morocco and educated in Germany, Marzouki returned to Tunisia as a doctor of medicine and lecturer at the University of Sousse in 1979. In 1980, he joined the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) and in 1989 became its chairman. In 1993, Marzouki was jailed for his advocacy on behalf of political prisoners and liberated from solitary confinement through an international campaign led by Nelson Mandela. In 1997, he co-founded and chaired the Arab Commission for Human Rights. The following year, he co-founded the clandestine National Council for Liberty (CNLT). In 2000, he illegally founded Congress for the Republic (CPR), one of Tunisia's oldest opposition political parties. He was pressured to leave Tunisia for France after running for election against incumbent president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Marzouki was finally able to return to Tunisia in 2011. After his presidential term, he founded a new political party, Al-Irada, in 2015.

Scope and Contents

Moncef Marzouki talks about early discussions of the future of Tunisia's political system, and whether it should be presidential or parliamentary. He speaks to the idea of sharing power between two executives, and how that plays out differently in theory and in practice. He provides examples in his experiences with the prime ministers Jebali, Laarayedh, and Jomaa. Marzouki speaks to the difference between the Security Council and the Crisis Cell, and how he managed being a human rights activist as well as head of security. He explains the principle of transitional justice and the challenges to implementing it in Tunisia after the dictatorship. Marzouki gives his opinion of "the technocratic solution" and outlines the differences between working with politicians and working with technocrats. Finally, he explains why he created his new political party, Al-Irada, in 2015.


Access Conditions

Copyright by the Trustees of Columbia University in the City of New York, 2017.

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