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Tunisia President

Last modified: 2006-02-18 by rob raeside
Keywords: tunisia | star (white) | crescent |
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The Presidential Flag

1999 revision

Flag of the President of Tunisia

Flag of the President of Tunisia 2:3 by Željko Heimer

Similar to the national flag, red flag with white disk containing the crescent and star (apparently somewhat smaller then in the national flag) and above the disk in yellow Arabic letters inscribed "Li-l-watan," meaning "For the nation". There is a golden/yellow fringe along the three outer edges. A red ribbon is attached to the flag pole above the flag, fringed golden at the short edge and with a white disk with crescent and star near the fringe.
Željko Heimer, 11 April 2003

The Tunisian defense attaché in Washington said this flag used to be displayed by all commanders in the armed forces, but is now limited to the President. I would surmise that it represents his capacity as commander in chief of the armed forces.
Joe McMillan, 17 April 2001

Flag of the President of Tunisia 2:3 by Željko Heimer, modified by André Coutanche

At is a recent photograph of President Ben Ali meeting with US Secretary of Defense William Cohen with two flags along the wall. One is a fringed version of the Tunisian national flag with an Arabic inscription in white in the upper hoist. I have seen this flag in Tunisian military offices during previous visits; as I recall, the inscription reads "li-l watan" (for the nation) [the -tan portion is visible in the photograph
linked above]. The other is bluish-violet with an Arabic monogram surrounded by an olive wreath, all in silver. The monogram appears to consist of two letters, one  of which is a "jim" (transliterated in English as j). The other may be a "ta", which would suggest a monogram for Al-Jumhuriyah at-Tunisiyah, (the Tunisian Republic), but I can't tell for sure. An interesting feature is that both flags are topped with short cravats with miniature versions of the devices on the flags. Does anyone have any further information on these?
Joe McMillan, 27 September 2000

I wonder if the purple or dark blue flag in this picture might not be the actual presidential flag of Tunisia. If not, I don't know what it is--the photograph is taken in President Ben Ali's office, I believe, and is obviously part of a matching set with the modified national flag that we've assumed to be the flag of the President.

I've seen the national flag with inscription at the Tunisian ambassador's residence in Washington and asked the Tunisian military attaché what it was--he said it used to be the flag of Army units but was now the president's flag, which didn't really explain what it was doing in the ambassador's residence, of course.

I wonder if the national flag with the slanted inscription (which reads "lil-watan," i.e. "for the nation/pour la patrie") might not be some kind of ceremonial national flag--possibly the national *color* and the dark purple/blue flag the president's personal flag. The only letter of the Arabic monogram that I can make out in the picture is a "j", which could stand for the word jumhuriya, meaning "republic." The emblem as replicated on the mini-cravat at the top of the flag. It appears to me (maybe Dov can give his reaction) to be a "tughra"-style monogram of the letters R and J, which could conceivably stand for "ra'is al-jumhuriyah," i.e., "president of the republic."
Joe McMillan, 27 May 2004

This dark violet flag must be the presidential flag because it was also used by the president in a official trip to Morocco and reported by Jose Luis Cepero (then living in Morocco) and published in Flag Report about one year ago and a correction adding the wreaths (missed by Cepero in his first report, but noted in a second observation on Moroccan TV) and correction of some details in the emblem is due to be published next year. Perhaps the other flag is the flag of the Supreme Commander of the armed forces that is also the president?
Jaume Ollé, 27 May 2004

I did a search on "+president +tunisie +drapeau" and found, inter alia, This site is a record of the President's doings and sayings. At is a set of photos, none of which contains the violet/blue flag with the monogram - surprising if it is the official presidential flag. On the other hand, at we have a photo of the President being presidential, with both the national flag with inscription and the blue/violet flag.

Looking at all these pictures I have noticed something odd: the symbols are arranged so that they appear vertical on a flag hanging down on an indoor pole, i.e. with the lower fly corner straight down. In other words, the symbols are placed *diagonally* on the flag. This applies to both the monogram on the violet/blue flag and the national emblem and inscription on the national flag.

This might suggest that Željko's original gif above was correct, and the 'presidential' flag (as we call it) does have the inscription horizontal and that what we are seeing in the photos is a ceremonial version of the flag for indoor use with *everything* rotated. However, the TV capture here of the flag flying outdoors clearly does show the national symbol as we would expect it and the inscription set diagonally. So there are two versions of this flag.
André Coutanche, 28 May 2004

The background image on the site shows that the letters clearly are Arabic R and J, each with an ornamental "tail" looping over the top. Is it my monitor, or does the inscription on the national flag, "al-watan" look more white than gold?
Joe McMillan, 28 May 2004

It is not just your monitor. And a somewhat clearer image at also has the inscription looking more white than gold to
Ned Smith, 28 May 2004

Album des Pavillons (2000) shows the fringe as gold, but Smith (1975) shows it white. Maybe it varies, or has changed?
Željko Heimer, 24 January 2001

To help resolve the question of this flag's identity, it is mentioned above that the inscription on the flag could not be read in its entirety. Two very clear images giving a good view of the inscription can be seen at and The first is a logo combining elements of the purple flag with the Tunisian flag and the second is from the official website of the President of the Republic of Tunisia. Also on that website, if one clicks on the Flash presentation and then clicks on the President link and selects either Biography or Oeuvre one finds the inscription on purple used as the background.
Ned Smith, 27 January 2006

Incorrect version reported in 2000

by Željko Heimer

I show the image here with a large disk as in Album des Pavillons (2000), though if the fringe is correct, the disk is probably not, and should match the "usual" size. This (or better the white fringed variant that I'll show subsequently) was adopted earliest on 25 July 1957 when Tunisia became a republic and Habib Bourguiba became president. It may be possible that it was abandoned on 7 November 1987 when Zine El Abidine Ben Ali replaced Bourguiba as president. To speculate further, the yellow fringed flag might have been version used at first (shortly?) before the current "Li-l-watan" flag was adopted. This would make Tunisian Republic one of the several that under French influence have habits of using different flags for subsequent presidents. It may be too early for any conclusions as we have only two presidents to look at. Certainly, it wouldn't be surprising.
Željko Heimer, 12 April 2003

Pre-1999 version

by Željko Heimer

This version is based on Smith (1982) with a white disk being approximately 1/3 of the hoist.
Željko Heimer, 12 April 2003