Tunisian Chamber of Deputies.
Tunisia is a member of the Arab League
, the African Union
and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation
. It maintains close relations with the United States, France and the European Union, with which it entered an Association Agreement
Tunisia's favorable relations with the United States and the European Union were earned following years of successful economic cooperation in the private sector and infrastructure modernization.
Tunisia is a representative democracy
with an executive president, a legislature and judiciary. The military is neutral and does not play any role in national politics.
In Tunisia, the President is directly elected for a five-year term. The President nominates the candidate of the party that gained the most votes in legislative elections to form a government within a month. The nominee must submit his program to the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and get the trust of the majority of its members before being appointed Prime Minister. Regional governors and local administrators are appointed by the central government. Mayors and municipal councils are directly elected.
Before the 2011 revolution
the parliament was bicameral
. The lower house was the Chamber of Deputies of Tunisia
), which had 214 seats. Members were elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. At least 25% of the seats in the House of Deputies were reserved for the opposition. More than 27% of the members of the Chamber of Deputies were women. The Lower House played a growing role as an arena for debate on national policy, especially as it hosted representatives from six opposition parties. Opposition members often voted against bills or abstained. However, because the governing party enjoyed a comfortable majority, bills usually passed with only minor changes.
The upper house was the Chamber of Advisors, which had 112 members, including representatives of governorates (provinces), professional organizations and national figures. Of these, 41 were appointed by the Head of State while 71 were elected by their peers. About 15% of the members of the Chamber of Advisors were women.
The Tunisian legal system is based on French civil law
system. Some judicial review of legislative acts takes place in the Supreme Court
in joint session. The judiciary is independent, although the Supreme Judicial Council is chaired by the President of the Republic.
The Constitution of 2014 provides for a newly-constituted Constitutional Court
. It consists of 12 members, rach of whom must have 20 years' experience in order to serve for a single term of nine years. Two thirds are specialized in law. The President of the Republic, the President of the Assembly of the Representatives of the People and the Supreme Judicial Council each propose four candidates; the Assembly of the Representatives of the People approves nominations with a three-fifths majority. The Constitutional Court appoints its own President and Vice President, both specialized in law.
Political parties and elections
Since 1987 Tunisia has reformed its political system several times, abolishing life-term presidencies and opening up the parliament to opposition parties. The number of new political parties and associations has increased since the beginning of Ben Ali's presidency in 1987. Shortly before the revolution of 2011 there were eight recognized national parties, six of which held national legislative seats. President Ben Ali's party, known as the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), commanded majorities in local, regional, and national elections. Although the party was renamed (in President Bourguiba’s days it was the Socialist Destourian Party), its policies were still considered to be largely secular and conservative. However, the Tunisian Revolution
in 2011 saw its removal from power.
2009 national elections
The Tunisian national elections of 2009, overseen by the Interior Ministry and held on October 25, 2009, elected candidates for president and legislative offices. During the campaign, speeches by candidates were aired on Tunisian radio and television stations.
Participation was 89% of resident citizens and 90% of citizens living abroad. In the presidential vote, Ben Ali soundly defeated his challengers, Mohamed Bouchiha (PUP), Ahmed Inoubli (UDU) and Ahmed Ibrahim (Ettajdid Movement) for a fifth term in office. His 89% of the vote was slightly lower than in the 2004 election.
In the parliamentary elections, the RCD received 84% of the vote for 161 constituency seats. The MDS won 16 seats under the proportional representation system, followed by the PUP with 12 seats. 59 women were elected to legislative seats.
The election was criticized by opposition parties and some international observers for limitations placed on non-incumbents. In one instance, the Ettajdid party's weekly publication, Ettarik al-Jadid, was seized by authorities for violating campaign communications laws.
Meanwhile, a delegation from the African Union Commission praised the election for taking place with "calm and serenity"
Prior to the 2009 election, Tunisia amended its constitution to allow more candidates to run for president, allowing the top official from each political party to compete for the presidency regardless of whether they held seats in parliament.
2011 Constituent Assembly election
2014 parliamentary elections
Parliamentary elections were held in Tunisia on 26 October 2014. Results were announced on 27 October 2014 with secularist Nidaa Tounes
winning a plurality with 38% of the vote.
Politics and society
The now-defunct Chamber of Deputies had 23% women members in 2009, outpacing the percentage of women
serving at the time in the U.S. Congress
, which stood at 17% in the 111th Congress
. More than one-fifth of the seats in both chambers of parliament were held by women, an exceptionally high level in the Arab world.
Ben Ali regime
President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali
was criticized for the low levels of democracy and freedom of expression in the country by Amnesty International
and various other organizations.
which documented restrictions of basic human rights and obstruction of human rights organizations. The Economist'
s 2008 Democracy Index
ranked Tunisia 141 out of 167 countries studied and 143 out of 173 regarding freedom of the press.
Later in his rule repression became more brutal, corruption more visible and the economy more stagnant.
A Constituent Assembly
was elected on 23 October 2011, and a new constitution was adopted on 26 January 2014. It was passed on 10 February 2014
Under the Ben Ali regime, freedom of the press was officially guaranteed, but the press was highly restricted, as was a substantial amount of web content. Journalists were often obstructed from reporting on controversial events.
Prior to the Jasmine Revolution
, Tunisia practiced internet censorship against popular websites such as YouTube
. In 2010 Reporters Without Borders
included Tunisia in the country list of “Enemies of the Internet".
However, Despite this, Tunisia hosted the second half of the United Nations
-sponsored World Summit on the Information Society
which endorsed the freedom of the internet as a platform for political participation and human rights protection. By 2010, Tunisia had more than 3.5 million regular internet users and 1.6 million Facebook
and hundreds of internet cafes, known as ‘publinet.’
Tunisia is divided into 24 governorates:
International organization participation
Tunisia is a participant in the following international organizations:
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Last edited on 26 April 2021, at 15:55
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