Constitutional Democratic Rally

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Democratic Constitutional Rally
التجمع الدستوري الديمقراطي
French name Rassemblement constitutionnel démocratique
First Leader Habib Bourguiba
Last Leader Mohamed Ghannouchi
Founded February 27, 1988 (1988-02-27)
Dissolved March 9, 2011 (2011-03-09)
Preceded by Socialist Destourian Party
Headquarters Tunis, Tunisia
Ideology Tunisian nationalism
Social democracy
Political position Centre-left
Religion Secularism
International affiliation Socialist International
Colors Red
Website[dead link]
Politics of Tunisia
Political parties

The Democratic Constitutional Rally[3] or Democratic Constitutional Assembly[4] (Arabic: التجمع الدستوري الديمقراطيAt-Tajammu‘ Ad-Dustūrī Ad-Dīmuqrāṭī, French: Rassemblement Constitutionnel Démocratique, sometimes also called Constitutional Democratic Rally in English), also referred to by its French initials RCD, formerly called Neo Destour then Socialist Destourian Party, was the ruling party in Tunisia from independence in 1956 until it was overthrown and dissolved in the Tunisian revolution.[5][6]

The party was founded in 1934 by Habib Bourguiba, and led the country to independence in 1956. For the first half-century of Tunisia's existence as an independent state, the RCD was effectively the only party in Tunisia, and was the only party legally permitted from 1963 to 1981. The party held strong majorities in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Councillors; indeed, it was the only party in the legislature until 1994.

In the 2009 general election, the last held before the revolution, the RCD won 161 of 214 seats with the remaining 53 seats going to minority parties.[7] These elections, like virtually all others in the country since independence, were widely seen as fraudulent. The outcry over the elections proved to be a major cause of the revolution which forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to resign and leave Tunisia.[8]

In response to the RCD government's attempt to suppress the protests, the Socialist International expelled the RCD on January 17, 2011—three days after Ben Ali fled the country.[9] In order to placate protesters and designated coalition participants, the incumbent president and prime minister resigned from their memberships in the RCD on January 18[10] and all remaining RCD-aligned ministers resigned their party memberships on the 20th,[11] the effect of which left the RCD with only a parliamentary majority. On January 27, Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi carried out a major reshuffle, removing all former RCD members other than himself from the government. On March 9, the party was finally dissolved by the Tunisian courts.[12]


In 1920, Tunisian nationalists formed the Destour (Constitutional) Party in opposition to French rule. As the party developed, a schism occurred within the party, leading to the founding of the Neo Destour Party in 1934 by Habib Bourguiba and several younger members of the old Destour. Under his leadership, the Neo Destour Party successfully garnered independence from France in 1956. Eight years later, in 1964, the Neo Destour Party became the Destourian Socialist Party (PSD). From 1963–1981, the PSD was the only legal political party in Tunisia.[13]

In 1981, the PSD faced opposition from Hizb ut-Tahrir, the Islamic Tendency Movement, the Tunisian Communist Party, the Movement for Popular Unity and student groups, weakening its influence. On November 7, 1987, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, who had been named Prime Minister only a month earlier, became president after Bourguiba was declared medically unfit for office.[14] The following year, President Ben Ali instituted economic reforms increasing economic privatization and renamed the party the Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD).[15]

On 6 February 2011, the Ministry of Interior banned all meetings and activities of the party, and requested the courts to dissolve it. This happened on 9 March, when a court in Tunis announced the dissolution of the former ruling party and the liquidation of its assets and funds, although the party said it would appeal the decision.[16]



  • July 29–31, 1993
  • July 29–31, 1998
  • August 30 – September 2, 1998
  • July 28–31, 2003

Election results[edit]

Presidential Elections[edit]

Election date Party candidate Number of votes received Percentage of votes
1989 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 2,087,028 100%
1994 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 2,987,375 100%
1999 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 3,269,067 99.4%
2004 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 4,204,292 94.4%
2009 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 4,238,711 89.6%

Parliamentary Elections[edit]

Election date Party leader Number of votes received Percentage of votes Number of deputies
1989 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 1,633,004 80.6% 141
1994 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 2,768,667 97.7% 144
1999 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali Unknown Unknown 148
2004 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 3,678,645 87.5% 152
2009 Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 3,754,559 84.5% 161

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Geography and Map of Tunisia
  2. ^ Dictatorship and Neo-Liberalism: The Tunisian People's Uprising Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Global Research, January 19, 2011
  3. ^ Entry for "Democratic Constitutional Rally" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  4. ^ Entry for "Democratic Constitutional Rally" in the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 7 August 2013.
  5. ^ Tunis Afrique Presse (7 February 2011). "Minister of Interior Suspends the RCD party awaiting its dissolution". Retrieved 7 February 2011.  (Arabic)
  6. ^ Al-Jazeera English (9 March 2011). "Tunisia dissolves Ben Ali party". Retrieved 9 March 2011. 
  7. ^ "Final Results of Presidential and Legislative Elections". Presidential and Legislative Elections in Tunisia. 26 October 2009. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 
  8. ^ Empathy for Tunisian discontent in France euronews, January 13, 2011
  9. ^ SI decision on Tunisia Socialist International, January 17, 2011
  10. ^ CNN Wire Staff (January 19, 2011 – Updated 2145 GMT (0545 HKT)). "State TV: 2 top officials depart Ben Ali's party In Tunisia". CNN. 
  11. ^ Lin Noueihed and Matthew Jones (January 20, 2011). "All Tunisian ministers quit ruling party- state TV". Reuters. 
  12. ^ "Tunisia dissolves Ben Ali party". Al Jazeera. 9 March 2011. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
  13. ^ "Tunisia: Politics, Government and Taxation". Encyclopedia of Nations. 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  14. ^ Delaney, Paul (1987-11-09). "Senile Bourguiba Described in Tunis". The New York Times. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  15. ^ "Tunisia: Politics, Government and Taxation". Encyclopedia of Nations. 2010. Retrieved 13 December 2010. 
  16. ^ Al-Jazeera English (9 March 2011). "Tunisia dissolves Ben Ali party". Retrieved 9 March 2011. 

External links[edit]