Biography of Habib Ben Ali Burguiba (1903-2000)

Tunisian politician, born in Monastir on August 3, 1903 and died in the same town on 6 April 2000.

He attended his first letters in Tunisia, at the Sakidi school, and later entered the Lycée Carnot. His political vocation led him to join the Constitutionalist old Destour party in 1920, and soon after went to France to study law and political science at the Sorbonne; During this time he/she met who would later become his wife, a young French woman named Mathilde Lorrain, with whom he/she had his only son, Habib Burguiba junior, and that divorced in 1961.

From 1927, year in which returned to Tunisia with her Bachelor's degree in his pocket, began to intervene actively in politics since the drafting of newspaper La voix de tunisien, whose template had entered in 1930 and then from l'action Tunisienne, founded by himself two years later. At that time he/she began to feel uncomfortable in his party, which seemed clearly bourgeois and little radical, and began to caress the idea of founding another political party; However, without even having presented his candidacy on May 12, 1933 was elected member of the Executive Committee of the party.

The following year was convened a Party Congress which ended with the Division of a group of militants, which created a new political group, the Neo Destur, in front of which registered to the own Bourguiba. From there he/she began then Bourguiba fight for the independence of the country, which earned him to be imprisoned by French authorities for two years. This was not the only time that he/she was in such a situation, as in 1937, during the second Congress of the party, his appeals to the population so resume the fight brought him a new detention, accused of plotting against the security of the State (the following year, the French Government declared illegal the Neo Destour). However, the beginning of the second world war interrupted the instruction of the cause and Bourguiba was transferred to Marseille and Lyon, where the Germans released him in 1942.

After the war, Bourguiba embarked on a trip around the world that lasted four years, aiming to seek support for their cause. Strengthened its international position as a result of his appointment as Secretary General of the Committee of liberation of North Africa in 1948, two years after he/she moved to Paris to present a project for the autonomy of Tunisia. During the five years that negotiations, Bourguiba was imprisoned on several occasions, but it had the support of the Tunisian independence, refugees in the mountains, they kept in check the French troops.

Tunisia and, in March 1956 internal autonomy, following the discussions of Bourguiba with Guy Mollet, new head of the French Government was proclaimed in 1954, the Protocol of independence was signed. In 1957 he/she was elected President of the Republic, once abolished the monarchy, and in 1975 was proclaimed President for life in Tunisia.

Some points that characterized the mandate of Bourguiba were its support to the Palestinian people, which manifested itself when he/she embraced in his country to the PLO, and his defense of the ideal panarabista. Since 1980, Bourguiba authorized the existence of other political formations in Tunisia, other than the single party, the Socialist Destouriano. In this environment, he/she called elections in 1981, in which the national front, made up of his party and the Union of the country, General Union of workers of Tunisia was victorious.

In 1987 the Prime Minister of Tunisia, Zine el Abidine, better known as Ben Ali, ended his term citing grounds of senility, pursuant to article 57 of the Constitution, which provides that the head of the Government will take the Presidency in the event of physical or mental disability of the holder, and went on to take his place at the head of the Government. Since then, Habib Burguiba lived retired in his villa in Monastir until his death on 6 April 2000, was decorated with the order of the blood and the order of confidence in diamonds, and had published two books, the Destour and Tunisia and France (1937), France (1955).