President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia is preparing for his return home on Monday (June 1) after a six month stay in France where he was recovering from a liver complaint.
President Habib Bourguiba of Tunisia is preparing for his return home on Monday (June 1) after a six month stay in France where he was recovering from a liver complaint. The 66-year-old leader went to the Elysee Palace on Friday (29 May) for lunch with President Pompidou.
Meanwhile in Tunisia there is widespread speculation that he might announce top level government changes on his return. He will resume the powers he handed over at the time of his departure to the Prime Minister M. Bahi Ladgham.
He hinted at the possibility of changes in a message broadcast on the 14 Anniversary of Independence in March when he said that his absence allowed him to consider the scope of responsibility which he had given to the men who were governing the country.
On his return he will also have to decide the fate of Ahmed Ben Salah former Economics Minister, who was sentenced on May 24 to 10 years imprisonment with hard labour on charges of treason and mismanaging the national economy.
M. Ben Salah was once considered President Bourguiba's most likely successor.
During the past few weeks the President has taken a more active part in state affairs, receiving politicians and giving instruction by telephone to the cabinet in Tunis.
But many observers are wondering whether he will be able to exercise power with the same energy as before.