Public Figure Profiles

Habib Bourguiba

Habib Bourguiba was a Tunisian lawyer, nationalist leader and statesman who led the country from 1956 to 1957 as the prime minister of the Kingdom of Tunisia (1956–57) then as the first president of Tunisia (1957–87). Prior to his presidency, he led the nation to independence from France, ending the 75-year-old protectorate and earning the title of "Supreme Combatant".

Born in Monastir to a poor family, he attended Sadiki College then Lycée Carnot in Tunis, before obtaining his baccalaureate in 1924. He graduated from the University of Paris in 1927 and returned to Tunis to practice law. In the early 1930s, he became involved in anti-colonial and Tunisian national politics, joining the Destour party and co-founding the Neo Destour in 1934. He rose as a key figure of the independence movement and was repeatedly arrested by the colonial administration. His involvement in the riots of 9 April 1938 resulted in his exile to Marseille during World War II.

In 1945, Bourguiba was released and moved to Cairo, Egypt, to seek the support of the Arab League. He returned to the country in 1949 and rose to prominence as the leader of the national movement. Although initially committed to peaceful negotiations with the French government, he had an effective role in the armed unrest that started in 1952 when they proved to be unsuccessful. He was arrested and imprisoned on La Galite Island for two years, before being exiled in France. There, he led negotiations with Prime minister Pierre Mendès France and obtained internal autonomy agreements in exchange for the end of the unrest. Bourguiba returned victorious to Tunis on 1 June 1955, but was challenged by Salah Ben Youssef in the party leadership. Ben Youssef and his supporters disagreed with Bourguiba's "soft" policies and demanded full independence of the Maghreb. This resulted in a civil war that opposed Bourguibists, who favored a stepwise policy and modernism, and Youssefists, the conservative Arab nationalist supporters of Ben Youssef. The conflict ended with the Sfax Congress of 1955 in favor of Bourguiba.

Following the country's independence in 1956, Bourguiba was appointed prime minister by king Muhammad VIII al-Amin and acted as de facto ruler before proclaiming the Republic, on 25 July 1957. He was elected interim President of Tunisia by parliament until the ratification of the Constitution. During his rule, he implemented a strong education system, worked on developing the economy, supported gender equality and proclaimed a neutral foreign policy, making him an exception among Arab leaders. The main reform that was passed was the Code of Personal Status which settled a modern society. He set a strong presidential system which turned to be a twenty-year one-party state dominated by his own, the Socialist Destourian Party. A cult of personality also developed around him, before he proclaimed himself president for life in 1975, during his fourth 5-year term.

The end of his 30-year rule was marked by his declining health, a war of succession, and the rise of clientelism and Islamism. On 7 November 1987 he was removed from power by his prime minister, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, and kept under house arrest in a residence in Monastir. He remained there to his death and was buried in a mausoleum he had previously built.

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Some of their strengths

Habib Bourguiba has many admirable traits.

Based on spiritual traditions from around the world, they are someone who can be described as Intelligent, Imaginative, Creative, Optimistic, Extroverted, Passionate, and Adventurous.

Bold and Confident

According to Mysticism’s Astrology tradition, Habib Bourguiba is someone who is a bold, confident, energetic, and optimistic person, who is able to combine personal warmth and charisma with intelligence. A person who is charismatic and resourceful.

Soulful and Intuitive

Based on Daoism’s Ba-Zi or ‘Chinese Zodiac’ tradition, people who know Habib Bourguiba well know them as someone who can be graceful, romantic, and reserved, like gentle rain.

Imaginative and Sentimental

According to Hinduism’s Jyotisha or ‘Vedic Astrology’ tradition, many would also describe Habib Bourguiba as someone who is imaginative, sentimental, and in touch with emotions.

A person who has extremely good memory and analytical skills, likes to make sure that everyone gets along, enjoys all kinds of situations and people, has a talent for travel and languages, and who makes lifelong friends.

Social and Intuitive

Based on the Mayan Tzolk’in or ‘Mayan Astrology’ tradition, Habib Bourguiba is someone who values forming deep friendships and relationships, and who has strong intuition and reasoning skills .

They are also someone who is altruistic, tolerant, and sophisticated, and who tends to be a perfectionist who is always working to try and make everything and everyone better.

Creative and Leadership-oriented

According to Judaism’s Kabbalah tradition, Habib Bourguiba tends to be someone who is a natural leader, with determination, motivational powers, and who takes obligations seriously. Who has charisma, a sense of humor, and who tends to attract attention.

Some of Habib Bourguiba's challenges

While Habib Bourguiba has many strengths, nobody is perfect. They also have some challenging traits they need to manage.

For example, Habib Bourguiba can be Impulsive, Arrogant, Status-seeking, Careless, Irritable, Moody, and Pleasure-seeking.

Arrogant and Status-seeking

One of Habib Bourguiba's key challenges is that they are someone who can come across as arrogant and status-seeking.

Habib Bourguiba must also exercise caution as they can have difficulty dealing with responsibility, authority, or criticism.

Irritable and Moody

Habib Bourguiba is someone who can be irritable and moody, have a tendency to experience self-doubt, be too secretive, can take too many risks, and who can have an extreme approach to managing personal finances.

Domineering and Stubborn

Finally, Habib Bourguiba also can be too rebellious, not respond to criticism well, and be too emotional and extreme about things.

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