By the early morning of 7 November 1987, Tunisian radio had broadcast the communiqué that would bring an end to Bourguiba's presidency. Its author was his former prime minister, General Zein al-Abidine ben Ali. The statement was brief and succinct: it began by praising Bourguiba's role in the liberation and development of Tunisia, then gave the reasons for his eviction:

The onset of his senility and the deterioration of his health, and the medical report made regarding this called us to carry out our national duty and declare him totally incapable of undertaking the tasks of President of the Republic.

Thereby, acting under Article 57 of the Constitution, with the help of God, we take up the Presidency of the Republic and the high command of our armed forces.

In the exercise of our responsibilities, we are counting on all the children of our dear country to work together in an atmosphere of confidence, security and serenity, from which all hatred and rancour will be banished.

The independence of our country, our territorial integrity, the invulnerability of our fatherland and our people's progress are a matter of concern for all citizens. Love of one's country, devotion to its safety, and commitment to its growth are the sacred duties of all Tunisians. 1