Constituent Assembly of Tunisia

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National Constituent Assembly
المجلس الوطني التأسيسي
al-Majlis al-Waṭanī at-Ta'sīsī
Founded 22 November 2011
Mustapha Ben JafarEttakatol
since 22 November 2011
First Vice-president
Meherzia Labidi Maïza, Ennahda
Second Vice-president
Larbi Ben Salah Abid, CPR
Seats 217
Seats distribution of the 2011 Tunisian National Constituent Assembly
Political groups
  Ennahda (90)
  Democrats (35)
  CPR (14)
  Ettakatol (13)
  Unaffiliated (65)
Party-list proportional representation
Last election
23 October 2011
Meeting place
Bardo, Tunis
Bardo Palace[1]

The Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, or National Constituent Assembly (NCA), is the body in charge of devising a new Tunisian constitution for the era after the fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD)–regime. Convoked after the election on 23 October 2011, the convention consists of 217 lawmakers representing Tunisians living both in the country and abroad.[2] A plurality of members comes from the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement. The Assembly held its first meeting on 22 November 2011. 65 members of the opposition withdrew from the assembly by 28 July 2013.[3] The opposition members have come back and are attending meetings, but they refuse to vote or attend committee sessions.[4] Members of Ettakatol, which is part of the government, have also withdrawn from the assembly.[4]


Provisionally, a time of approximately one year has been envisioned to develop the new constitution,[5] whereas the convention itself is sovereign to set its own schedule.[2]

Before the first session of the NCA, Ennahda, Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol agreed to share the three highest posts in state.[6] Accordingly, the parliament voted Mustapha Ben Jafar (Ettakatol) speaker of the NCA upon being convoked on 22 November.[7] Meherzia Labidi (Ennahda) and Larbi Abid (CPR) were elected vice presidents.[8]

Provisional constitution and presidential election[edit]

On 10 December 2011, the assembly adopted a provisional constitution[9] (Law on the provisional organisation of public powers)[10] According to articles VIII and IX of the document, the requirements for the eligibility as president are exclusive Tunisian nationality (excluding citizens with dual nationality), having Tunisian parentage, religious affiliation to Islam, and an age of 35 years or more.[11] 141 delegates approved of the law, 37 voted against, and 39 abstained.[9]

On 12 December 2011, the NCA elected the human rights activist and CPR leader Moncef Marzouki as the interim President of the Tunisian Republic. 153 delegates voted for him, three against, and 44 votes were blank.[12] Blank votes were the result of a boycott from the opposition parties, who disagreed with the new "mini-constitution".

On 14 December, one day after his accession to office, Marzouki appointed Hamadi Jebali, the secretary-general of the Ennahda Movement as Prime Minister.[13] Jebali presented his government on 20 December,[14] and officially took office on 24 December.

2011 Tunisian presidential election results
Candidacy of Moncef Marzouki of the Congress for the Republic
Choice Votes  %
Yes check.svg For 153 75.7
Against 3 1.5
Blank 44 20.3
Abstentions 2 1.0
Total 202 100.0
Voter turnout 93.1
Electorate 217
Source: AFP[12]

Constitution drafting process[edit]

The actual process of drafting the new constitution started on 13 February 2012. The assembly established six committees, each in charge of one of the individual themes of the constitution. The first commissions is responsible for the preamble and the general principles and amendments. Each of the committees consists of 22 lawmakers and mirrors the strength of the political groups in the assembly proportionally.[15] The most crucial question will be the one of the form of government. While the Islamist Ennahda movement favours a parliamentary system, its secular coalition partners CPR and Ettakatol, as well as most of the minor oppositional parties prefer a semi-presidential republic.[16]

Party standings[edit]

The party standings as of the election and as of September 14, 2014 were as follows:

Standings in the 2011 Tunisian National Constituent Assembly
Affiliation Members
2011 Election
As of
21 November 2013
Ennahda Movement 89
Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties 20 11
Republican Party - 11
Call for Tunisia - 11
Democratic Alliance Party - 10
Progressive Democratic Party 16
Afek Tounes 4
Congress for the Republic 29 17[17]
Wafa Movement2 - 12[18]
Popular Petition 26 14[19]
Social Democratic Path3 - 7
The Initiative 5
Tunisian Workers' Communist Party 3
People's Movement 2
Movement of Socialist Democrats 2
Free Patriotic Union 1
Democratic Patriots' Movement 1
Maghrebin Liberal Party 1
Democratic Social Nation Party 1
New Destour Party 1
Progressive Struggle Party 1
Equity and Equality Party 1
Cultural Unionist Nation Party 1
Independent lists 8 20
Total members 217

Note: 1Part of the Democratic Group.

2Previously a part of CPR.
3Composed of former members of Democratic Modernist Pole.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ How Will the First Session of the Constituent Assembly Be Held? – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live
  2. ^ a b Backgrounder: Basic facts about Tunisian Constituent Assembly election, Xinhua English News, 22 October 2011, retrieved 25 October 2011 
  3. ^ 65 NCA Members Withdraw, Demand National Salvation Government, Tunisia Live, 28 July 2013, retrieved 15 September 2013 
  4. ^ a b "Governing Party Joins Opposition in NCA Walkout". Tunisia Live. 7 November 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2013. 
  5. ^ Gamha, Eymen (10 October 2011), Tunisia's Constituent Assembly: How Long Will it Last?,, retrieved 25 October 2011 
  6. ^ Tunisia coalition agrees top government posts, BBC News, 21 November 2011, retrieved 23 November 2011 
  7. ^ Ayari, Sadok (22 November 2011), "Mustapha Ben Jaafar Elected President of the Constituent Assembly", Tunisia Live, retrieved 23 November 2011 
  8. ^ Ben Ghazi, Myriam (23 November 2011), "Day of Tunisia's Historic Democratic Transition",, retrieved 12 December 2011 
  9. ^ a b Tunisian assembly adopts provisional constitution, Al Jazeera English, 11 December 2011, retrieved 12 December 2011 
  10. ^ "Constituent Assembly resumes works", TAP Tunisian News Agency, 7 December 2011, retrieved 18 February 2012 
  11. ^ Ajmi, Sana (11 December 2011), "Discriminatory Qualifications for Tunisia's President Cause Controversy",, retrieved 12 December 2011 
  12. ^ a b Ben Salah, Hamida; Larbi, Kaouther (12 December 2011). "Tunisie : Moncef Marzouki succède à Ben Ali comme président "de la 1e république arabe libre"" [Moncef Marzouki succeeds Ben Ali as President "of the 1st free Arab republic"]. AFP (in French). Retrieved 15 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Mzioudet, Houda (14 December 2011), "Ennahda's Jebali Appointed as Tunisian Prime Minister",, retrieved 21 December 2011 
  14. ^ Tunisian PM presents new government, AFP, 20 December, retrieved 21 December 2011 
  15. ^ Ben Hassine, Wafa (13 February 2012), "Process of Writing Tunisia's New Constitution Begins",, retrieved 18 February 2012 
  16. ^ Fitouri, Samia (10 February 2012), "Tunisia Still Undecided Over Form of Government for New Democracy",, retrieved 18 February 2012 
  17. ^
  18. ^ Les dissidents du CPR créent le Congrès Démocratique Indépendant
  19. ^ Sdiri, Wafa (24 December 2011). "Des élus d'"El Aridha" se rassemblent et créent un groupe parlementaire indépendant du Mouvement" [Elected members of Popular Petition secede from party and create independent parliamentary caucus]. (in French). Retrieved 26 December 2011. 

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