Location; North Africa, bordering the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and Libya. Area; 163,610 sq. km. (63,378 sq. mi.), slightly smaller than Missouri. Cities; Capital--Tunis; Greater Tunis Area, Sfax, Nabeul, Sousse. Terrain; Arable land in north and along central coast; south is mostly semiarid or desert. Climate; Hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters. Land use; Arable land--17.05%; permanent crops--13.08%; other--69.87%.
Nationality; Noun and adjective--Tunisian(s). Population (2010); 10,486,339. Annual population growth rate (2008); 1.2%. Birth rate--17.7 births/1,000 population. Death rate--5.8 deaths/1,000 population. Ethnic groups; Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, other 1%. Religions; Muslim 99%, Christian less than 1%, Jewish less than 1%. Languages; Arabic (official), French. Education; Years compulsory--9. Literacy (definition--age 15 and over can read and write, 2007 est.)--74.3%. Health (2010); Infant mortality rate--22.57 deaths/1,000 live births. Life expectancy--75.78 total, 73.98 years male, 77.7 years female. Work force (2009); 3.689 million. Unemployment rate (2009); 13.3%.
Type; Republic. Constitution; June 1, 1959; amended July 12, 1988, June 29, 1999, June 1, 2002, May 13, 2003, and July 28, 2008. Independence; March 20, 1956. Branches; Executive--chief of state President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI (since November 7, 1987) head of government, Prime Minister Mohamed GHANNOUCHI (since November 17, 1999) cabinet, Council of Ministers appointed by the president; president elected by popular vote for a 5-year term; election last held October 25, 2009; prime minister appointed by the president. Election results; President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali reelected for a fifth term; candidates from opposition; Mohamed Bouchiha (PUP), Ahmed Brahim (At-Tajdid), Ahmed Innoubli (UDU), and Mounir Beji (PSL); percentage of vote--Zine El Abidine Ben Ali 89.62% (officially). Legislative--bicameral. Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab (214 seats; 5-year terms; 161 seats are elected by popular vote for party lists on a winner-take-all basis). An additional 53 seats are distributed to opposition parties on a proportional basis as provided for in 1999 constitutional amendments. Elections last held October 25, 2009. Election results; percentage of vote by party--RCD 75%; seats by party--RCD 161, MDS 16, PUP 12, UDU 9, At-Tajdid 2, PSL 8, PVP 6. Note; The number of opposition seats increased from 37 to 53. A referendum in 2002 created a second chamber, the Chamber of Advisors (126 seats; 6-year terms; 85 elected by municipal officials and professional associations; 41 members are presidential appointees). Elections for the Chamber of Advisors were held in July 2005. Half of these seats were up for re-election in August 2008. Judicial--Nominally independent District Courts, Courts of Appeal, Highest Court (Cour de Cassation). Judges of all courts are appointed by the minister of justice and human rights. Political parties; Democratic Constitutional Rally (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique--ruling party) or RCD, President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali; At-Tajdid Movement (Ahmed Brahim); Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties or FDTL (Mustapha Ben Jaafar); Liberal Social Party or PSL (Mondher Thabet); Movement of Democratic Socialists or MDS (Ismail Boulahia); Popular Unity Party or PUP (Mohamed Bouchiha); Unionist Democratic Union or UDU (Ahmed Inoubli); Progressive Democratic Party or PDP (Maya Jribi); Green Party for Progress or PVP (Mongi Khamassi). Political pressure groups and leaders; Authorized--Tunisian Human Rights League or LTDH (Mokhtar Trifi); Tunisian Association of Democratic Women or ATFD (Sana Ben Achour); Tunisian Bar Association (Abderrazak Kilani); National Syndicate of Tunisian Journalists or SNJT (Jamal Kermaoui); General Union of Tunisian Students (Ezzedine Zaatour). Unauthorized--An-Nahdha (Renaissance) the Islamic fundamentalist party (Rached El Ghanouchi, in exile); National Council for Liberties in Tunisia or CNLT (Sihem Ben Sedrine); Freedom and Equity (Mohamed Nouri); Movement of 18 October (Nejib Chebbi, Hamma Hammami, et. al) Congress for the Republic or CPR (Moncef Marzouki); Tunisian Communist Labor Party or POCT (Hamma Hammami); Green Party or Green Tunisia (Abdelkader Zitouni); International Association for the Support of Political Prisoners or AISPP (Samir Dilou); Association Against Torture in Tunisia or ALTT (Radia Nasraoui). Administrative divisions; 24 governorates--Ariana, Beja, Ben Arous, Bizerte, El Kef, Gabes, Gafsa, Jendouba, Kairouan, Kasserine, Kebili, Mahdia, Manouba, Medenine, Monastir, Nabeul, Sfax, Sidi Bou Zid, Siliana, Sousse, Tataouine, Tozeur, Tunis, Zaghouan. Suffrage; Universal at 18. (Active duty members of the military and internal security forces cannot vote.)
Real GDP (2009, base 1990) TND 25.813 billion (U.S. $19.13 billion). Real GDP growth rate (2009); 3.1%. Per capita GDP, PPP (2009, IMF est.); $8,254. Natural resources; natural gas, crude oil, phosphates, salt, iron ore. Agriculture; Products--olives, olive oil, grain, tomatoes, citrus fruit, sugar beets, dates, almonds; beef, dairy products. Industry; Types--petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate), textiles, footwear, food processing, electric and mechanical components. Services; Tourism, commerce, transport, communications. Sector information as percentage of GDP (2009 est.); Services 43% (of which 5.5% for tourism); industry 31.5%; agriculture and fishing 8.9%. Trade (2009); Exports--$14.42 billion; clothing, semi-finished goods and textiles, agricultural products, mechanical goods, phosphates and chemicals, hydrocarbons, electrical equipment. By region--Europe 76.13%, Africa 13.12%, Asia 4.99%, Americas 2.6%. By country (U.S. $)--France $4.27 billion; Italy $3.03 billion; Germany $1.26 billion; Spain $486.24 million; Libya $830.8 million; U.K. $685.8 million; Belgium $319.15 million; U.S. $196.59 million. Imports--$19.03 billion; textiles, machinery and equipment, hydrocarbons, chemicals, foodstuffs. By region--Europe 72.58%, Asia 12.64%, Africa 7.21%, Americas 7.08%. By country (U.S. $)--France $3.83 billion; Italy $3.11 billion; Germany $1.66 billion; Spain $864.67 million; China $954.04 million; Libya $559.01 million; U.S. $761.53 million.
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