(1936-) Tunisian politician, president from 1987. After training in France and the US, he returned to Tunisia and became director-general of national security. He was made minister of the interior and then prime minister under the aging president for life, Habib Bourguiba, whom he deposed 1987 in a bloodless coup with the aid of ministerial colleagues. He ended the personality cult established by Bourguiba and moved toward a pluralist political system. He was reelected 1994, with 99% of the popular vote.
His hard-line stance against Islamic militancy provoked criticism from human rights organizations.