Constituent Assembly of Tunisia

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National Constituent Assembly

المجلس الوطني التأسيسي

al-Majlis al-Waṭanī at-Ta'sīsī
Founded22 November 2011 (2011-11-22)
Disbanded26 October 2014 (2014-10-26)
Preceded byChamber of Deputies
Succeeded byAssembly of the Representatives of the People
Mustapha Ben Jafar, Ettakatol
since 22 November 2011
First Deputy Speaker
Meherzia Labidi Maïza, Ennahda
since 22 November 2011
Second Deputy Speaker
Larbi Ben Salah Abid, CPR
since 22 November 2011
Political groups
  Ennahda (89)
  non-inscrit (53)
  Democratic Bloc (18)
  Democratic Transition (13)
  Ettakatol (13)
  Wafa Movement (10)
Proportional representation in multi-member constituency party-lists
Last election
23 October 2011
Meeting place
Bardo, Tunis
Bardo Palace[1]

The Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, or National Constituent Assembly (NCA) was 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, and was dissolved and replaced by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People on 26 October 2014.


Provisionally, a time of approximately one year was envisioned to develop the new constitution,[3] although the convention itself was to determine its own schedule.[2]

Before the first session of the NCA, the Ennahda, Congress for the Republic (CPR) and Ettakatol agreed to share the three highest posts in state.[4] Accordingly, the parliament voted Mustapha Ben Jafar (Ettakatol) speaker of the NCA upon being convoked on 22 November.[5] Meherzia Labidi (Ennahda) and Larbi Abid (CPR) were elected Deputy Speakers.[6]

Provisional constitution and presidential election[edit]

On 10 December 2011, the assembly adopted a provisional constitution[7] (Law on the provisional organisation of public powers)[8] 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.[9] 141 delegates approved of the law, 37 voted against, and 39 abstained.[7]

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.[10] 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.[11] Jebali presented his government on 20 December,[12] 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[10]

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 commission was responsible for the preamble and the general principles and amendments. Each of the committees consisted of 22 lawmakers and mirrored the relative strength of the political groups in the assembly.[13] The most crucial question was the form of government. While the Islamist Ennahda movement favoured a parliamentary system, its secular coalition partners CPR and Ettakatol, as well as most of the minor opposition parties preferred a semi-presidential republic.[14] The new Tunisian constitution was passed on 26 January 2014.[15]

Party standings[edit]

The party standings as of the election and as of 26 October 2014 were as follows:

Standings in the 2011 Tunisian National Constituent Assembly
Affiliation Members
2011 Election
As of
5 October 2014
Ennahda Movement 89 85
Congress for the Republic (CPR) 29 12
Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (FDTL) 20 12
Democratic Alliance Party8 - 10
Social Democratic Path (VDS)10 - 10
Republican Party (PR)7 - 8
Popular Petition/Current of Love 26 7
Wafa Movement2 - 6
Voice of the Tunisian People3 - 6
Nidaa Tounes12 - 6
El Amen Party3 - 5
The Initiative (Almoubadara) 4
Democratic Current2 - 4
Movement of the Republic4 - 4
Afek Tounes11 4 3
Tunisian Workers' Communist Party (PTOL)/Workers' Party (PT) 3
Patriotic Construction Party1 - 3
People's Movement/Popular Current 2
Free Patriotic Union (UPL) 1 2
Democratic Patriots' Movement (MOPAD) 1
Maghrebin Liberal Party/Maghrebi Republican Party 1
Progressive Struggle Party/Progressive People's Party 1
Tunisian Movement for Freedom and Dignity - 1
Tunisian National Front - 1
Al Iklaa Party2 - 1
Third Alternative5 - 1
Reform and Development Party8 - 1
Progressive Democratic Party (PDP)6 16
Democratic Modernist Pole (PDM)9 5
Movement of Socialist Democrats (MDS) 2
Democratic Social Nation Party 1
New Destour Party 1
Equity and Equality Party 1
Cultural Unionist Nation Party 1
Independent lists 8 17
Total members 217

Note: 1Split from Ennahda.

2Split from CPR.
3Mostly composed of former members of Popular Petition.
4Split from Popular Petition.
5Split from FDTL.
6Merged into PR.
7Merger of PDP, Afek Tounes, minor parties and independents.
8Split from PDP.
9Dissolved. Most members joined VDS.
10Mostly composed of former members of PDM.
11Merged into PR. Later revived.
12Founded after the 2011 election; was joined by defectors from different parties.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ How Will the First Session of the Constituent Assembly Be Held? – Tunisia Live : Tunisia Live Archived 9 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ a b Backgrounder: Basic facts about Tunisian Constituent Assembly election, Xinhua English News, 22 October 2011, retrieved 25 October 2011
  3. ^ Gamha, Eymen (10 October 2011), Tunisia's Constituent Assembly: How Long Will it Last?,, archived from the original on 11 October 2011, retrieved 25 October 2011
  4. ^ "Tunisia coalition agrees top government posts", BBC News, 21 November 2011, retrieved 23 November 2011
  5. ^ Ayari, Sadok (22 November 2011), "Mustapha Ben Jaafar Elected President of the Constituent Assembly", Tunisia Live, archived from the original on 9 January 2012, retrieved 23 November 2011
  6. ^ Ben Ghazi, Myriam (23 November 2011), "Day of Tunisia's Historic Democratic Transition",, archived from the original on 24 November 2011, retrieved 12 December 2011
  7. ^ a b Tunisian assembly adopts provisional constitution, Al Jazeera English, 11 December 2011, retrieved 12 December 2011
  8. ^ "Constituent Assembly resumes works", TAP Tunisian News Agency, 7 December 2011, retrieved 18 February 2012[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ Ajmi, Sana (11 December 2011), "Discriminatory Qualifications for Tunisia's President Cause Controversy",, archived from the original on 14 December 2011, retrieved 12 December 2011
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Mzioudet, Houda (14 December 2011), "Ennahda's Jebali Appointed as Tunisian Prime Minister",, archived from the original on 17 January 2012, retrieved 21 December 2011
  12. ^ Tunisian PM presents new government, AFP, 20 December, retrieved 21 December 2011 Check date values in: |date= (help)
  13. ^ Ben Hassine, Wafa (13 February 2012), "Process of Writing Tunisia's New Constitution Begins",, archived from the original on 17 February 2012, retrieved 18 February 2012
  14. ^ Fitouri, Samia (10 February 2012), "Tunisia Still Undecided Over Form of Government for New Democracy",, archived from the original on 16 February 2012, retrieved 18 February 2012
  15. ^ "Tunisia assembly approves new constitution". Al Jazeera English. 26 January 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2014.

External links[edit]