Tunisia’s and Ben Ali’s corruptions: the Wikileaks revelations

by Pierre Tristam

Photo: Palestinian Press Office

Tunisia is an odd, secular dictatorship. Its president is elected by popular vote to five-year terms. But the president, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, and his ruling party, also choose their opponents, vet their campaign platforms, regulate their campaign posters and messages, and limit the election season to about two weeks. Ben Ali, in power since 1987, ends up winning 95 to 99 percent of the vote. The legislature, similarly controlled, consists of a 189-member Chamber of Deputies (popularly elected) and a senate-like, mostly appointed 126-member Chamber of Advisers.