tunisians run their president out of town

Tunisian president Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has fled the country. The Prime Minister went on television on Friday night and announced himself the new president. The NY Times reports:

The apparent fall of Mr. Ben Ali, whose authoritarian government ruled for more than two decades, would mark the first time in recent memory that widespread demonstrations had overthrown an Arab leader.

The UK Guardian reports:

Opposition leader Najib Chebbi, one of Ben Ali’s loudest critics, captured the sense of historic change. “This is a crucial moment. There is a change of regime under way. Now it’s the succession,” he said.He added: “It must lead to profound reforms, to reform the law and let the people choose.”

The events in Tunisia might have ramifications in the wider Middle East and North Africa region. Regimes in Algeria and Egypt are potentially the most vulnerable. Egypt has presidential elections later this year while Algeria has been experiencing disturbances in the Annaba province.

We might be seeing the beginning of the end of the peculiar fact that there is not a single Arab democracy in the world.

Goodluck Jonathan wins pdp nomination

Nigerian president Goodluck Jonathan has won his party’s primary nomination. The BBC reports:

Correspondents say the margin of his victory was a huge surprise, with several central and northern states backing Mr Jonathan, a southerner.

“The People’s Democratic Party has spoken with one strong voice,” Mr Jonathan said in his acceptance speech, wearing a trademark fedora hat and black traditional robe.

The African behemoth (population > 150 million) holds elections in April. Mr. Jonathan is favored to win.