chapter  4
The road to the Second Republic
Pages 24

Ghannouchi's first government was a hasty piece of work, announced barely forty-eight hours after Ben Ali fled the country. Most of its members belonged to Ben Ali's party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD), and several had served as ministers under the former president. Ghannouchi II contained no RCD officials and it pulled in more representatives from civil society organizations. The immediate aftermath of Ben Ali's departure, most Tunisians saw Ghannouchi as a competent technocrat with clean hands despite his eleven years as Ben Ali's prime minister. Interim President Mbazaa appointed Béji Caid Essebsi to succeed Mohamed Ghannouchi as prime minister. Despite his early posts as director of national security, interior minister, and defense minister, he also was part of liberal wing of ruling party that fell out of favor. After a long period of the national stage, Caid Essebsi returned to public life in the early 1980s, a time when Bourguiba tried to restore social peace by offering liberalizing concessions.