|Biographical detail : ||Tunisian president who was forced out of office.
The Tunisian president Zein al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced out of the office by a wave of political protests. Having first promised, when he ousted his predecessor Habib Bourguiba, in 1987, to put in place a democratic system, he changed tack, marginalising the opposition and vastly bolstering the security services.
He opened his country to foreign investment and encouraged the development of a diversified industrial base supplying European markets. But the “Tunisian miracle”, however, failed to enthuse local investors, who were put off by allegations of corruption swirling around the family of Leila Trabelsi, the first lady.
Public fury erupted in December 2010 when an unemployed graduate set himself on fire. Neither Ben Ali’s promises of job creations or of greater political freedom could stem the fury of rioters fed up with unemployment, corruption and the repressive atmosphere of the president’s police state.
Ben Ali’s abrupt departure from office, on 14 January 2011, came at a price; dozens died in the violence.
On 20 June 2011, Ben Ali along with his wife was sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison on charges of money laundering and drug trafficking. International arrest warrants have been issued.