Timeline of Events: Tunisia

Timeline of events in Tunisia that could lead to a revolution.

French Protectorate

The Bardo Treaty is signed


The Bardo Treaty is signed, where Tunisia becomes a French protectorate.

Neo-Destour Party formed


The Neo-Destour Party is formed by Habib Bourguiba.


Conventions and Protocols signed by Tunisian & French premier ministers


A series of conventions and protocols are signed by Tunisian premier minister Tahar ibn Ammar and French premier minister Edgar Faure. These gave Tunisia a high degree of self-rule.

Tunisia becomes Independent


More independence is given to Tunisia with a new protocol signed in Paris. With this protocol the Bardo Treaty of 1881 is abrogated, and Tunisia is consequently an independent nation.

National Legislative Elections


National legislative elections, which gave the Neo-Destour Party a decisive victory.

Bourguiba is elected president of the first Tunisian National Assembly


Bourguiba is elected president of the first Tunisian National Assembly.

Bourguiba is elected premier minister.


Bourguiba is elected premier minister.

Clashes between French and Tunisian troops

July 1957 - December 1957

There are several clashes between French and Tunisian troops along the Tunisian-Algerian border. French troops are accused of crossing into Tunisia.

Tunisia becomes a Republic


Tunisia becomes a republic, as the National Assembly deposes the bey. Habib Bourguiba becomes the new republic's first president.

Presidential Elections


Elections where Bourguiba is elected president, without any opposing candidates. The Neo-Destour Party wins all seats in the parliament. Few in the national opposition and in the outside world regarded these elections to have been fair and free.

Tunisia demands Franch leave Naval base at Bizerte


After that Tunisia has demanded that France leave their naval base at Bizerte, their troops siege the base. France responded, and fights broke out. Within 2 days 1,300 Tunisians are killed.

Foreign owned lands expropriated by the National Assembly

May 1964

About 3,000 km² of foreign owned lands are expropriated by the National Assembly. This mainly affected French families, and France responded by stopping all financial assistance to Tunisia. Tunisian politics shift more in a socialist direction. This is reflected in the name change of the Neo-Destour Party into Destour Socialist Party.

Bourguiba is appointed president for life by the National Assembly

March 1975

Bourguiba is appointed president for life by the National Assembly.

Modern Tunisia

Bloodless Palace Coup


In a coup Bourguiba is removed as president, and replaced by his fresh prime minister Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Presidential Elections


Presidential elections, where President Ben Ali has allowed contesting candidates to run. According to the official figures, Ben Ali receives 99.44% of the votes, the two others sharing the remainder between them. Same-day parliamentary elections give the ruling RDC 91.6% of the votes and all contested seats. Of a total 182 seats, the opposition receives by law 34 seats. MDS gets 13 seats, UDU 7, PUP 7, MR-Ettajdid 5 and Parti social libéral 2.

Close ties with European economy & security


An agreement with the European Union brings Tunisia into a close cooperation with Europe in economy and security.

Changes in the constitution

May 2002

Changes in the constitution allows a president to stay in power until the age of 75 (70 before) and be reelected unlimited times (3 times before, Ben Ali had at this time been reelected the three times).

Ben Ali reelected


Ben Ali is reelected president, receiving 94.5% of the votes. Mohamed Bouchiha gets 3.8%, Mohamed Ali Halouani 1%.

Islamist militants and security forces clash


Islamist militants and security forces clash in Tunis (12 killed)

Ben Ali wins 5th term


Ben Ali wins fifth term with 90 percent of the vote, rejects cries of fraud and threatens to prosecute critics.

Mohamed Bouazizi sets fire to himself


Mohamed Bouazizi sets fire to himself in the central town of Sidi Bouzid in protest at the confiscation by police of his vegetable cart. Local people rally in support. Bouazizi later dies of his burns. Huge funeral increases momentum of protests against unemployment and repression.

Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia


After days of clashes in which dozens of people are killed, and having made empty promises of reforms and elections, Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi stays on, with parliamentary speaker Fouad Mebazza as interim president.

Opposition figures quit cabinet


Some opposition figures quit cabinet, demanding removal of former Ben Ali loyalists. Protesters denounce ''sham''.

Protestors demand Ghannouchi and other proteges go


Protesters again demand Ghannouchi and other Ben Ali proteges go. Policemen, once the bulwark of Ben Ali's rule, demonstrate in Tunis, saying they too were victims.

Ghannouchi resigns


Ghannouchi resigns after violent protests over his ties to Ben Ali, triggering street celebrations in Tunis. He is replaced by Beji Caid Sebsi, a former foreign minister under 1960s independence President Habib Bourguiba.

Sebsi unveils a new cabinet of technocrats


Sebsi unveils a new cabinet of technocrats rather than career politicians, none of whom had served in governments under Ben Ali. The Interior Ministry says Ben Ali's political police and state security apparatus has been dissolved.

Ben Ali sentenced to prison


A Tunisian court sentences Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi, in absentia to 35 years in prison for theft and illegal possession of large sums of cash. In July a court adds a 16-year jail term for Ben Ali and his son-in-law for corruption.

Tunisia votes in first election of the Arab Spring


Tunisia votes in the first election of the Arab Spring, choosing from among 80 political parties to form an assembly charged with drafting a constitution within a year.

New President and Prime Minister are elected


Members of the constitutional assembly vote to elect former dissident Moncef Marzouki as president, the second most powerful role after the prime minister. Hamadi Jebeli, secretary general of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, is designated as prime minister.

Salafi Islamists attack bars and shops in Jendouba

May 2012 - June 2012

Hundreds of Salafi Islamists attack bars and shops and clash with security forces in Jendouba, raising religious-secularist tensions. In June, the government lifts a curfew imposed following riots by Salafis and others over an art exhibition they deemed insulting to Islam.

Stop of use of firearms against demonstrators


Navi Pillay, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, says Tunisian authorities must stop using firearms against demonstrators after more than 220 people are reported injured in clashes between protesters demanding jobs and police in Siliana, on the edge of the Sahara Desert.

Chokri Belaid shot dead


Opposition secularist politician Chokri Belaid is shot dead, sparking huge street protests. Prime Minister Jebali calls the killing a political assassination and a strike against the "Arab Spring" revolution.