In Tunis, President Habib Bourguiba opened the tenth Socialist Destourian Party Congress on Wednesday (5 September).
In Tunis, President Habib Bourguiba opened the tenth Socialist Destourian Party Congress on Wednesday (5 September). The seventy-six year old life President made his first public speech in a long time, but seemed remarkably fit as he outlined Tunisia's development towards a new society.
SYNOPSIS: The life President received a rapturous welcome from the 858 delegates as he entered the conference hall. He began his speech by paying warm tribute to his heir apparent Prime Minister, Hedi Nouira for his efforts in developing Tunisia's new society over the last ten years.
Mr. Noura's automatic succession had been a controversial issue, but the challenge against him vanished after the bloody general strike of January 1978, when union protests against oppression resulted in violent clashes with over fifty dead and hundreds wounded. Leading opponents to the one-party system were jailed and the hard line in the party strengthened behind Mr. Nouira who is already running the Government. However, in his speech, President Bourguiba strongly denied there had been any drift away from socialism, but pointed out the need for tight control to avoid excesses and abuses.