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Majlis Al-Nuwab (Chamber of Deputies)

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Parliament name -
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Structure of parliament Unicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Majlis Al-Nuwab / Chamber of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Majlis al-Mustasharin / Chamber of Councillors
Affiliation to the IPU Yes
Affiliation date(s) 1957 -
President Sahbi Karoui (a.i.) (M) 
Secretary General Mohamed Lamine Kassis (M) 
Members (statutory / current number) 214 / 214

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Women (current number) 59 (27.57%)
Mode of designation directly elected 214
Term 5 years
Last renewal dates 25 October 2009
(View details)
Address Chambre des Députés
Palais du Bardo - 2000 TUNIS
(Export mailing lists)
Phone (216 71) 51 02 00
51 02 89
15 70 00
Fax (216 71) 51 46 08
51 89 99
E-mail majless@chambre-dep.tn


Parliament name -
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Majlis Al-Nuwab / Chamber of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Majlis al-Mustasharin / Chamber of Councillors
Electoral law 8 April 1969
Last amendment: Decree No 2069 of 7 July 2009
Mode of designation directly elected 214
Constituencies - 26 multi-member constituencies covering the 24 governorates of the country. The two most densely populated governorates (Tunis and Sfax) each comprise two constituencies.
Voting system Mixed: - 161 members are elected from the constituencies. In each of the 26 constituencies, the voter selects a list of candidates without the possibility of replacing the names given. The list which secures an absolute majority at the national level wins all constituency seats.
- 53 remaining seats are allotted to parties that fail to win any constituency seats. The seats are attributed on the basis of the percentage of votes won at the national level by using the highest average formula. The seat goes to the candidate whose name appears first on the list concerned at the time of its submission.
Voting is not compulsory.
Voter requirements - age: 18 years
- Tunisian citizenship or Tunisian nationality for at least five years
- full possession of civil and political rights
- disqualifications: conviction of crime, conviction entailing an unsuspended prison sentence in excess of three months, guardianship, undischarged bankruptcy, insanity, active members of the armed and security forces
Eligibility - qualified voters
- age: 23 years
- Tunisian citizenship
- Tunisian father or Tunisian mother
Incompatibilities - magistrates
- non-elective public functions remunerated by State funds
- President and members of the Constitutional Council
- directors and agents of national enterprises or public establishments
- president and members of the Economic and Social Council
- ambassadors
- governors, first delegates, delegates, sector heads (regional public functions)
- civil servants of and remunerated by a foreign State or international organization
- the foregoing provisions shall not apply to members of government
Candidacy requirements - candidatures must be submitted to the competent regional authorities during the fourth week preceding the elections
- each list must bear as many names as seats to be filled in the constituency.


Parliament name -
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Majlis Al-Nuwab / Chamber of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Majlis al-Mustasharin / Chamber of Councillors
Dates of election / renewal (from/to) 25 October 2009
Timing and scope of renewal Elections were held for all the seats in the Chamber of Deputies on the normal expiry of the members' term of office.
The October 2009 elections were held for an enlarged 214-member Chamber of Deputies (up from 189). They were held in parallel with presidential elections (see note). Constitutional amendments in July 2008 lowered the minimum voting age from 20 to 18 years.

In the previous elections held in October 2004, President Ben Ali's Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) won 152 of 189 seats at stake. The Democratic Socialist Movement (MDS), which backed Mr. Ben Ali in the presidential elections, took 14 seats. The Popular Unity Party (PUP) followed with 11 seats. The Unionist Democratic Union (UDU), the Ettajdid (Renewal) Movement and the Social Liberal Party (PSL) took seven, three and two seats respectively. President Ben Ali was re-elected with over 94 per cent of the votes.

In the 2009 elections, 1,080 candidates from nine parties and 15 independent lists were vying for seats in the Chamber of Deputies. Only the RCD and the MDS fielded candidates in all constituencies.

President Ben Ali, who has been in power since 1987, was seeking his fifth consecutive term in office. He was challenged by Mr. Mohamed Bouchiha (PUP), Mr. Ahmed Inoubli (UDU) and Mr. Ahmed Brahim (Ettajdid Movement). The 79-year old MDS leader, Ismaïl Boulahia, who had surpassed the constitutional age limit for presidential candidates (75 years), backed President Ben Ali. Although he was eligible to run for president, PSL leader Mondher Thabet also backed the incumbent President.

President Ben Ali's RCD presented a 24-point platform in which it pledged to enhance democracy and improve working conditions for all Tunisians. MDS leader Boulahia said that President Ben Ali was the best placed to advance a pluralistic democratic process.

The PUP promised to create a democratic system with greater balance between the legislative and executive branches and an independent judiciary.

The Ettajdid Movement pledged to implement tax reform to help workers and the middle class. The Ministry of the Interior seized an issue of the Movement's newspaper containing its election manifesto for not respecting the electoral law

A total of 89.40 per cent of the 4.9 million registered voters turned out at the polls.

A delegation from the African Union Commission declared that the electoral campaign had taken place in "calm and serenity".

The RCD secured 84.59 per cent of the total votes, winning all 161 constituency seats. The MDS remained the second largest party, winning 16 seats under the proportional representation system. The PUP came in third with 12 seats. The UDU, the PSL, the Green Party for Progress (PVP) and the Ettajdid Movement took the remaining seats. 59 women were elected.

In the presidential election, President Ben Ali won a fifth term, securing 89.62 per cent of the votes.

On 10 November, the newly elected Chamber of Deputies held its first session and re-elected Mr. Fouad Mebazaâ (RCD) as its new Speaker.

Under the current Constitution and the electoral law, Presidential candidates need to be nominated by 30 members of the Chamber of Deputies or 30 presidents of municipal councils. Based on the constitutional amendments of July 2008, the incumbent elected leaders of all recognized political parties were allowed to run for the presidency in 2009 without any nomination, provided that they have served in the post of party leader for at least two consecutive years. These amendments applied only to the 2009 presidential elections.
Voter turnout
Round no 125 October 2009
Number of registered electors
Blank or invalid ballot papers
Valid votes
4'447'388 (89.4%)
Distribution of votes
Round no 1
Political group Candidates Votes % of votes
Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) 3'754'559 84.59
Democratic Socialist Movement (MDS) 205'374 4.63
Popular Unity Party (PUP) 150'639 3.39
Unionist Democratic Union (UDU) 113'773 2.56
Social Liberal Party (PSL) 99'468 2.24
Green Party for Progress (PVP) 74'185 1.67
Ettajdid Movement 22'206 0.50
Distribution of seats
Round no 1
Political Group Total of seats
Democratic Constitutional Rally (RCD) 161
Democratic Socialist Movement (MDS) 16
Popular Unity Party (PUP) 12
Unionist Democratic Union (UDU) 9
Social Liberal Party (PSL) 8
Green Party for Progress (PVP) 6
Ettajdid Movement 2
Distribution of seats according to sex


Percent of women


Distribution of seats according to age
21 to 30 years

31 to 40 years

41 to 50 years

51 to 60 years

61 to 70 years

Over 70 years







Distribution of seats according to profession
Education profession

Civil service and local authority administration

Physician, dentist


Architect, surveyor, engineer

Finance, management or business

Legal profession

Journalism, broadcasting, media









- Chamber of Deputies (21.11.2009, 03.03.2010)
- http://www.elections2009.tn/en


Parliament name -
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Majlis Al-Nuwab / Chamber of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Majlis al-Mustasharin / Chamber of Councillors
Title President of the Chamber of Deputies
Term - duration: 1 year, renewable (at the beginning of each ordinary session, in October of each year)
- reasons for interruption of the term: appointment to an office which cannot be held concurrently with the parliamentary mandate, resignation, death
Appointment - elected by all Members of the Chamber
- the election is held at the start of each ordinary session
- after members' mandates have been validated in the case of a new legislature
Eligibility - any Member may be a candidate
- notification of candidature must be made during the plenary opening sitting of the ordinary session
Voting system - formal vote by secret ballot if there are several candidates
- absolute majority required in the first round; relative majority in the second round; in case of a tie in the second round, the eldest candidate is declared elected
Procedures / results - the eldest member presides over the Assembly during the voting
- a Committee composed of 5 Members appointed at the start of the plenary opening sitting of the session supervises the voting
- the eldest Member announces the results without delay
- the results cannot be challenged
Status - serves as Acting Head of State for a period of 45 to 60 days
- represents the Chamber with the authorities
- represents the Chamber in international bodies
- in the absence of the President, the First Vice-President can assume his/her role and functions
Board - the Board of the Chamber is regulated by the Standing Orders
- consists of the two Vice-Presidents, the 7 Chairmen of standing committees and the 7 Rapporteurs of these committees, all elected for one year
- meets once a fortnight
- assists the President
Material facilities
Organization of parliamentary business - convenes sessions
- establishes and modifies the agenda, after consultation with the Board
- organizes the debates and sets speaking time
- refers texts to a committee for study
- examines the admissibility of request for setting up committees and/or committees of enquiry, proposes or decides on the setting-up of such committees
Chairing of public sittings - can open, adjourn and lift sittings
- ensures respect for provisions of the Constitution and Standing Orders
- makes announcements concerning the Chamber
- takes disciplinary measures in the event of disturbance, and lifts such measures
- establishes the list of speakers, gives and withdraws permission to speak
- calls for a vote, decides how it is to be carried out, verifies the voting procedure and cancels a vote in the event of irregularities
- checks the quorum
- authenticates the texts adopted and the records of debates
- interprets the rules or other regulations governing the life of the Chamber
- has discretionary power to give the floor outside the agenda and thus organizes impromptu debates

Special powers - recruits, assigns and promotes staff
- appoints the Secretary General
- organizes the services of Parliament
The Board:
- establishes the draft budget of the Chamber
- is responsible for relations with foreign Parliaments
- is responsible for safety, and in this capacity, can call the police in the event of disturbance in the Chamber
Speaking and voting rights, other functions - provides guidelines for the interpreting or supplementing the text under discussion
- intervenes in the parliamentary oversight procedure
- must be consulted by the Head of State if emergency powers are applied


Parliament name -
Structure of parliament Unicameral
Chamber name (generic / translated) Majlis Al-Nuwab / Chamber of Deputies
Related chamber (for bicameral parliaments) Majlis al-Mustasharin / Chamber of Councillors
Nature of the mandate · Free representation
Start of the mandate · When the mandates are validated [references, texts or comments]
Validation of mandates · Validation by a committee [references, texts or comments]
· Procedure (Art. 106 and 106 bis of the Electoral Code)
End of the mandate · On the day when the legal term of the House ends or on the day of early dissolution or prolongation of the mandate of the Chamber of Deputies (Art. 74 of the Electoral Code; for prolongation, see Art. 23 of the Constitution)
Can MPs resign? Yes · Procedure
· Authority competent to accept the resignation:
Can MPs lose their mandate ? Yes (a) Definitive exclusion from Parliament by the latter for absence during three consecutive months (Art. 14 of the Standing Orders; see Participation in the work of Parliament)
(b) Loss of mandate by judicial decision (which automatically leads to failure to fulfil of an essential requirement for eligibility)
Rank in hierarchy · Within Parliament:
1. The President
2. The 1st Vice-President
3. The 2nd Vice-President
4. The 7 Chairpersons of standing committees
5. The 7 Committee Rapporteurs
6. The Deputy Rapporteurs
7. The other Members
Indemnities, facilities and services · Diplomatic passport
· Basic salary:
+ Expense allowance:
· No tax exemption
· Pension scheme
· Other facilities:
(a) Assistants (administration)
(b) Official housing, during parliamentary activities, in a hotel
(c) Travel and transport
(d) Other
Obligation to declare personal assets Yes
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary non-accountability · The concept exists (Art. 26 of the Constitution).
· Parliamentary non-accountability is limited to words spoken or written by MPs and votes cast within Parliament.
· Derogations:
· Non-accountability takes effect on the day when the mandate begins and offers, after the expiry of the mandate, protection against prosecution for opinions expressed during the exercise of the mandate.
Parliamentary immunity - parliamentary inviolability · The concept exists (Art. 27 of the Constitution).
· It applies to criminal and civil proceedings, covers all offences and protects MPs from arrest and from being held in preventive custody, from the opening of judicial proceedings against them and from their homes being searched.
· Derogations: in cases of flagrante delicto, MPs can be arrested. The Assembly is immediately informed accordingly.
· Parliamentary inviolability does not prevent MPs from being called as witnesses before a judge or tribunal.
· Protection is provided from the start to the end of the mandate and does not also cover judicial proceedings instituted against MPs before their election.
· Parliamentary immunity (inviolability) can be lifted (Art. 27 (1) of the Constitution):
- Competent authority: the Chamber of Deputies
- Procedure (Art. 58 of the Standing Orders). In this case, MPs can be heard. They do not have means of appeal.
· Parliament cannot subject the prosecution and/or detention to certain conditions.
· Parliament can suspend the prosecution and/or detention of one of its members (Art. 27 (2) of the Constitution).
- Competent authority: the Chamber of Deputies
- Procedure (Art. 58 of the Standing Orders)
· In the event of preventive custody or imprisonment, the MPs concerned cannot be authorised to attend sittings of Parliament.
Training · There is a training/initiation process on parliamentary practices and procedures for MPs. It consists of parliamentary days and conferences within the framework of special sittings.
· It is provided by Parliament.
· Handbooks of parliamentary procedure:
- Standing Orders of the Chamber of Deputies
Participation in the work of the Parliament · It is compulsory for MPs to be present at plenary sittings and committee meetings (Art. 14 and 37 of the Standing Orders).
· Penalties foreseen in case of failure to fulfil this obligation (Art. 14 and 37 of the Standing Orders): warning, reprimand with forfeiture of the basic salary, loss of mandate with forfeiture of the basic salary, loss of committee membership
· Body competent to judge such cases/to impose penalties: the President; the Chamber of Deputies
Discipline · The rules governing discipline within Parliament are contained in Art. .... of the Standing Orders
· Disciplinary measures foreseen:
- Call to order
- Withdrawal of the floor
- Exclusion from the room for the remainder of the sitting
- Other measures
· Specific cases:
- Offence or insult
· Competent body to judge such cases/to impose penalties:
- Call to order, withdrawal of the floor, exclusion from the room for the remainder of the sitting: the President
- Other measures: the Chamber of Deputies, on a proposal by the Board
· Procedure
Code (rules) of conduct · This concept does not exist in the country's juridical system.
Relations between MPs and pressure group · There are no legal provisions in this field.

This page was last updated on 22 November 2011
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