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Area: 163,610 sq. km. (63,378 sq. mi.), slightly smaller than Missouri.
Cities: Capital--Tunis; Greater Tunis urban area: pop. 2,255,900 (includes Tunis, Ariana, Ben Arous, and Manouba governorates) Sfax (pop. 858,300).
Terrain: Arable land in north and along central coast; south is mostly semiarid or desert.
Climate: Hot, dry summers and mild, rainy winters.

Nationality: Noun and adjective--Tunisian(s).
Population (2004): 9,941,000.
Annual growth rate (2003): 1.03%.
Ethnic groups: Arab-Berber 98%, European 1%, other 1%.
Religions: Muslim 98%, Christian 1%, Jewish less than 1%.
Languages: Arabic (official), French.
Education: Years compulsory--9. Literacy--77.1% (male 85.2%; female 69%).
Health (2003): Infant mortality rate--21.1/1,000. Life expectancy--71.1 years male, 75.1 years female.
Work force (2004, 3.33 million) Services--49.4%; industry--34.3%; agriculture--16.3%.

Type: Republic.
Constitution: June 1, 1959; amended July 12, 1988, June 29, 1999, and June 1, 2002.
Independence: March 20, 1956.
Branches: Executive--chief of state President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI (since November 7, 1987) head of government, Prime Minister Mohamed GHANNOUCHI (since November 17, 1999) cabinet, Council of Ministers appointed by the president; president elected by popular vote for a 5-year term; election last held October 24, 2004 (next to be held in October 2009); prime minister appointed by the president. Election results: President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI reelected for a fourth term; candidates from opposition: Mohamed Bouchiha (PUP), Mohamed Ali Halouani (Et-tajdid) and Mounir Beji (PSL); percent of vote--Zine El Abidine BEN ALI 94.49% (officially).
Legislative--bicameral. Chamber of Deputies or Majlis al-Nuwaab (189 seats; 5-year terms; 152 seats are elected by popular vote for party lists on a winner-take-all basis). An additional 37 seats (20% of the total) are distributed to opposition parties on a proportional basis as provided for in 1999 constitutional amendments. Elections last held October 24, 2004 (next to be held in October 2009). Election results: percent of vote by party--RCD 92%; seats by party--RCD 152, MDS 14, PUP 11, UDU 7, Et-tajdid 3, PSL 2. Note: The opposition increased number of seats from 34 to 37. A referendum in 2002 created a second chamber, the Chamber of Advisors. Elections for the Chamber of Advisors were held in July 2005.
Judicial--independent District Courts, Courts of Appeal, Highest Court (Cour de Cassation). Judges of the Highest Court are appointed by the President.
Political parties: Et-tajdid Movement (Mohamed Harmel); Constitutional Democratic Rally Party (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique) or RCD, President Zine El Abidine BEN ALI (official ruling party); Democratic Forum for Labor and Liberties or FDTL (Mustapha Ben Jaafar); Social Democratic Liberal Party or PSDL (Mounir Beji); Movement of Democratic Socialists or MDS (Ismail Boulahia); Popular Unity Party or PUP (Mohamed Bouchiha); Unionist Democratic Union or UDU (Ahmed Inoubli); Democratic Progressive Party or PDP (Nejib Chebbi).
Political pressure groups and leaders: Legal--Tunisian Human Rights League or LTDH (Mokhtar Trifi). Outlawed--An-Nahda (Renaissance) the Islamic fundamentalist party (Rached El Ghanouchi); National Council for Liberties in Tunisia or CNLT (Sihem Ben Sedrine); Congress for the Republic or CPR (Moncef Marzouki); Tunisian Communist Labor Party or POCT (Hamma Hammami); Tunisian Green Party or PVT (Abdelkader Zitouni).
Administrative divisions: 24 governorates--Ariana, Beja, Ben Arous, Bizerte, El Kef, Gabes, Gafsa, Jendouba, Kairouan, Kasserine, Kebili, Mahdia, Manouba, Medenine, Monastir, Nabeul, Sfax, Sidi Bou Zid, Siliana, Sousse, Tataouine, Tozeur, Tunis, Zaghouan.
Suffrage: Universal at 20. (Active duty members of the military cannot vote.)

GDP (2004): $16.2 billion (constant price of 1990).
Growth rate (2004): 5.8%.
Per capita current GDP (2004): $2,667.
Natural resources: crude oil, gas, phosphates, iron ore, lead, zinc, salt.
Agriculture (12.9% of GDP): Products--olives, beets, dates, oranges, almonds, grain, sugar.
Industry (28.3% of GDP): Types--petroleum, mining (particularly phosphate), textiles, footwear, food processing.
Services (38.6% of GDP): Tourism, commerce, transport, communications.
Trade (2004): Exports--$9.5 billion: hydrocarbons, agricultural products, phosphates, chemicals, textiles, mechanical, electric components. By region--Africa 6.8%, Americas 2.1%, Asia 3.1%, Europe 84.8%. By country (U.S.$ million)--France $3145.1, Italy $2407.2, Germany, $871.9, Belgium, $283.9, Libya, $341.2, U.S. $113.2, Spain $575.4. Imports ($10.7 billion)--industrial goods and equipment, hydrocarbons, food, consumer goods. By region--Africa 5.4%, Americas 6.0% Asia 9.5%, Europe 78.5%. By country (U.S.$ million)--France $3138.3, Italy $2375.4, Germany $1056.6, Belgium $351.0, Libya $415.7, U.S. $351.6, Spain $662.0.
Trade balance deficit (2004): $3 billion.

Adapted from material published in the CIA World Factbook.
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