Following the resignation of President Ben Ali in
February 2011, Tunisia has been in a political and
constitutional transition period. The election of a new
constitutional assembly in October 2011 was the first step
towards a state constitution based on democratic principles.
The Constitutional Assembly was constituted in November
2011. After a period of several political crises, it
presented Parliament to a proposal for a new constitution in
January 2014 - which was passed by a clear majority. The
Constitution guarantees ordinary civil rights, including
The winner of the October 2011 election became the
Islamist party an-Nahda, which received 89 of the
total 217 seats in the assembly. Together with the Arab
nationalist left-wing Congress Congrès pour la republic
(CPR) which gained 29 seats, and the Social Democratic
Ettakatol which got 20, an-Nahda formed a political
Prior to the political upheaval, Tunisia, after the 1959
Constitution, last modified in 2002, was a unified state,
presidential republic. See ABBREVIATIONFINDER for how TS can stand for Tunisia. The head of state, the president, was
elected in general elections for five years. The president
appointed and led the government, appointed all military and
civilian officials, and was military commander. The
Government was accountable to the President, but also had
limited responsibility to the National Assembly; it could
adopt a vote of no confidence in the government.
The National Assembly passed laws, and was elected at the
same time as the president for five years, and had 189
members. In addition, there was a council meeting with 126
members elected for six years; 85 were elected from the
districts, organizations and unions (as the boycott
council), and 41 were appointed by the president. Since
independence, politics was dominated by one party, the Neo-Destour
Party, from 1988 called the Rassemblement
Constitutionnel Démocratique (RCD). Tunisia was in fact
a one-party state in the period 1964–88, and even later RCD
was completely dominant.
Administratively, Tunisia is divided into 24 counties
("governorates"), governed by presidential governors. The
Tunisian government has traditionally been very centralized,
but some decentralization and local democratization has
taken place since 1988.
The judiciary is influenced by French and Islamic law.
This includes a court of cassation, with three civil law
departments and one criminal justice department, three
appeals courts and 13 first instance courts.