INTRODUCTION: Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, who has been in Switzerland for the past three months suffering from ill health, arrived home on Friday (14 January) to a big welcome from cheering crowds.
INTRODUCTION: Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, who has been in Switzerland for the past three months suffering from ill health, arrived home on Friday (14 January) to a big welcome from cheering crowds. The 73-year-old head of state is believed to have stayed at a health resort near Geneva, but details of his illness have not yet been given out.
SYNOPSIS: The welcome at Tunis airport was reminiscent of the last time President Bourguiba was away. They, six years ago, he spent several months in the United States and Switzerland recovering from viral hepatitis and nervous depression.
Following his 1970 absence, he returned to a triumphal flower-petal welcome, but he needed further treatment in Switzerland soon afterwards. In view of his acknowledged health problem, it's begin asked how long the much respected President can continue in office. Pessimism was expressed about his chances in 1970. He was said to have returned home to face a behind the scenes power struggle.
According to reports quoted in one British newspaper, the Guardian, the President was said to be in full possession of his mental faculties for only limited periods. But he has shown impressive resilience since then. President Bourguiba, one of the outstanding figures of the third world, remains an all pervading influence on his country. In spite of reports that he has lost touch, he retains control of overall policy making.