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Yearbook 1999

Tunisia. According to Countryaah official website, President Zayn al-Abidin Ben Ali took home 99.4% of the vote in the October presidential election, thus securing a third five-year term in office. For the first time since Ben Ali took power through a coup in 1987, opposition politicians were allowed to run for office. Two parties each had their own candidate, both of whom were unbelievably loyal to Ben Ali during the election campaign.

1999 Tunisia

In the parliamentary elections held at the same time, the president's party, the ruling RCD (Rassemblement constitutionnel démocratique, Constitutional Democratic Assembly), received 91.6% of the vote, thereby taking home all the 148 seats in the election. The remaining 34 seats were reserved by law for legal opposition parties. In April, Ben Ali re-furnished the government with the aim of gaining confidence in the business community. Relations with the country's entrepreneurs had been damaged by tax increases intended to offset the drop in customs revenue that had arisen in Tunisia's trade agreement with the EU.

In November, several hundred political prisoners were released. According to the human rights organization Amnesty International, some 600 Islamists and a number of communists were among the released. However, the organization pointed out that there were still about 1,000 political prisoners in Tunisian prisons.

President Ben Ali visited Morocco for the first time in March.

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