PENPIX-Who are Tunisia's main oppposition figures?

Mon Jan 17, 2011 8:11pm GMT

TUNIS Jan 17 (Reuters) - Tunisian opposition politicians will be given posts in a new unity government for the first time, after President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was deposed in an popular revolt last week.

Below is some information on the main opposition figures who are entering government and on some who remain outside it.

NAJIB CHEBBI Founder of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), Najib Chebbi has been one of the most outspoken critics of the Tunisian government who stayed in the country.

While many other opposition figures went into exile, Chebbi was harassed by security forces for years, lambasted in the pro-government media and frustrated in his attempts to win elected office.

He founded the PDP in the 1980s and was its leader until 2006, when he stepped aside, saying he wanted to provide an example of a democratic handover.

He applied to run in the 2009 presidential election but was ruled ineligible because he was not the head of a party.

Because of media controls imposed by Ben Ali many years ago, Chebbi is not well known outside a small circle of intellectuals and opposition activists.

Chebbi was named minister of regional development in the new government.

AHMED IBRAHIM Ahmed Ibrahim is head of the opposition Ettajdid or Renewal movement, which evolved out of the Tunisian Communist Party.   Continued...

Powered by Reuters AlertNet. AlertNet provides news, images and insight from the world's disasters and conflicts and is brought to you by Reuters Foundation.