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Tunisia: Reports About a Court to Decide on “Interim” President's Title Refuted

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

In a statement published on its Facebook page, the office of the presidency denied that President Moncef Marzouki, filed a lawsuit against state owned media for referring to him as ”Interim President”.

The statement came in reaction to an article published by Al-Sabah newspaper, claiming that on February 13, a court in Tunisia will issue a verdict about the use of the term “interim” by the state media when referring to the current President Moncef Marzouki and his government.
According to the same source, a lawyer lodged a complaint to the court of first instance of Tunisia, claiming that the use of such a term does not have “a legal basis”.

This is not the first time that the use of term “interim” sparks a debate in Tunisia. Back in January, the Minister of Provisional Justice, and spokesperson of the government, criticized Tunisian media for the use of the word “interim”, claiming that it does not adapt to the current situation”.

In reaction to the complaint a photo with the term "interim" in different languages was created. Image posted to Facebook.

In reaction to the complaint a photo with the term "interim" in different languages was created. Image posted to Facebook.

Here are some reactions from the Tunisian Twittersphere, when the news (which then turned out to be rumors) about the President's lawsuit first emerged.

@Tanbirat: Au fait monsieur @Moncef_Marzouki je voulais juste vous dire que vous êtes notre président PROVISOIRE de la république !

@Tanbirat: In fact, Mr. @Moncef_Marzouki I just want te tell you, that you are our interim President!

@Emnabenjemaa: #Dilou ministre provisoire dans un gouvernement provisoire avec #Marzouki président provisoire

@Emnabenjemaa: #Dilou is an interim minister, in an interim government, with Marzouki an interim President

@ahmedchaabane: عجبا في حكومة مؤقتة تقلقها كلمة “مؤقت” أكثر مما يقلقها المليون بطال… #tunisie #tngov #marzouki

@ahmedchaabane: How strange, an interim government, more bothered by the term “interim” than one million unemployed people

@funnypurp: @Moncef_Marzouki et moi je vais porter plainte pour publicité mensongère après avoir voté CPR…

@funnypurp: @Moncef_Marzouki and I will lodge a complaint over false advertisement after voting for the CPR (CPR or Congress for the Republic, is the party that Moncef Marzouki used to preside before becoming a President

Indeed, those who do not feel at ease with the term “interim”, believe that this government is not interim because it was formed following free and fair elections. On the other hand, the opposition in Tunisia has fears that the current government might stay in power too long – although Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has recently declared that Tunisia will hold parliamentary and presidential elections within 18 months.

This post is part of our special coverage Tunisia Revolution 2011.

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