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Ben Ali’s ouster official

(AFP) / 15 January 2011

TUNIS — Tunisia’s ousted president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was officially swept aside on Saturday and the speaker of parliament named as his interim successor by the country’s Constitutional Council.

The council declared the head of state had “definitively” left power and appointed Foued Mebezza acting president under the constitution in a communiqué published by the official news agency TAP.

The council made its ruling at the request of Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi.

Ben Ali signed a decree handing Ghannouchi interim presidential powers before flying out of Tunis to refuge in Saudi Arabia. But his nomination under article 56 of the constitution had still left open the door to Ben Ali’s return.

The council on Saturday based its ruling under article 57 of the constitution, declaring a “definitive” vacation of the presidency.

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