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The Constitutional Democratic Rally (Arabic: التجمع الدستوري الديمقراطي, French: Rassemblement Constitutionel Démocratique, RCD), formerly Neo Destour, was the governing party in Tunisia. The party was suspended by the minister of interior on February 6th awaiting a decision on its dissolution by judicial authorities.[3][4] The party held strong majorities in both the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Councillors, though elections in Tunisia were subject to widespread claims of fraud. The 2009 legislative elections resulted in the RCD winning 161 of the 214 seats with the remaining 53 seats going to minority parties.[5] In 2004, the party won 152 of 189 seats in the Chamber of Deputies. The remaining 37 seats were occupied by minority parties.[6]

These elections were widely regarded as rigged and they contributed to the discontent shown in the 2010–2011 protests which pressured President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali into relinquishing authority and fleeing Tunisia but the protests have not so far succeeded in removing RCD from power and replacing it with an opposition party.[7] In response to the RCD government clampdown on protests, the Socialist International ceased the membership of the RCD.[8] 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[9] and all remaining RCD-aligned ministers resigned their party memberships on the 20th,[10] the effect of which will leave the RCD with only a parliamentary majority. On 27 January Prime Minister Ghannouchi carried out a major reshuffle, removing all former RCD members other than himself from the government. The Central Committee of the party has been dissolved.


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. 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.[11]

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, the Prime Minister at the time, became president after Bourguiba was declared medically unfit for office.[12] The following year, President Ben Ali instituted economic reforms increasing economic privatization and renamed the party the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD).[13]

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.[14]



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

See also


External links

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