[tweetmeme] It was reported earlier that after former Tunisian President Ben Ali fled the country, the Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi took over as interim President, despite some legal concerns. As it turns out, that is illegal and the Speaker of Parliament, Fouad Mebaza, will now take over the presidential office. However, the Tunisian constitution states that there must be new elections within no more than 60 days and that Mebaza is not allowed to run. Perhaps this change will calm some fears about installing a personality that was so inextricably linked with Ben Ali as president. While some question the wisdom of holding elections so quickly, more questions surround the management of the country:
Who is actually running the country right now? The military? The security services? Top civilian officials? Where are these decisions coming from?
Is it a good sign that the Tunisian regime, or rather what’s left of it, is trying to following constitutional procedure?
Can one of the most repressive governments in the world, where the last presidential contest saw Ben Ali re-elected with 90 percent of the vote, organize and hold a credible election in only 60 days? Does it want to, or will it try to cheat? And are there any opposition figures who have the national stature to win?
How will the protesters, who seem to have largely stayed home again today, react to this new development? Was getting rid of Ben Ali enough to satisfy them? Or will they now fracture, as the regime probably intends?