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The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Tunisia parliament debates motion on French colonisation

To be approved it would need 109 votes, which it is unlikely to achieve [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 June, 2020

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The motion was put forth by the small opposition Islamist party Al-Karama, which has 19 deputies in the 217-seat legislature.
Tunisia's parliament on Tuesday debated a motion calling on its former colonial ruler France to apologise for crimes committed "during and after colonisation".

The motion was put forth by the small opposition Islamist party Al-Karama, which has 19 deputies in the 217-seat legislature.

To be approved it would need 109 votes, which it is unlikely to achieve given deep divisions in the parliament.

The text calls on France to apologise for "assassinations... rapes... the pillaging of natural resources" and a list of "other crimes committed since 1881", including supporting former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

Tunisia was a French protectorate from 1881 until it gained independence in 1956.

A year later, it was declared a republic with Habib Bourguiba as its president. 

He was overthrown in a bloodless coup in 1987 following allegations that he had become senile, and after doctors declared he was unfit to rule.

His prime minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was appointed president, a post he held until he was ousted in the country's 2010-2011 uprising.

The revolution sparked a string of revolts that toppled autocratic leaders across the region.

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