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Introduction: Rivalry between French and Italian interests in Tunisia culminated in a French invasion in 1881 and the creation of a protectorate. Agitation for independence in the decades following World War I was finally successful in getting the French to recognize Tunisia as an independent state in 1956. The country's first president, Habib BOURGUIBA, established a strict one-party state. He dominated the country for 31 years, repressing Islamic fundamentalism and establishing rights for women unmatched by any other Arab nation. In November 1987, BOURGUIBA was removed from office and replaced by Zine el Abidine BEN ALI in a bloodless coup. Street...

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Government and Political Conditions: Until 2011, Tunisia was a republic with a strong presidential system dominated by a single political party. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali served virtually uncontested as President of the Republic beginning in 1987, when he deposed then-President Habib Bourguiba. However, on January 14, 2011, following nearly two months of popular demonstrations and protests calling for his removal from office, Ben Ali ...

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International Relations: Tunisia has followed a moderate, non-aligned course in its international relations, playing an active role in supporting the Middle East Peace Process. Tunisian peacekeepers have participated in UN operations in Cambodia, Namibia, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Eritrea and Kosovo.

Tunisia signed an Association Agreement with the EU in 1995, which entered into force in 1998. This was the first such accord between the EU and a Mediterranean partner. Under the agreement, Tunisia is gradually removing barriers to trade with the EU and continues to develop closer ties with the EU.


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