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Features of Constitution1

Is there a constitution? Yes
Does the constitution provide for freedom of religion? Yes


Constitution Year 1959
Last Amended 2002
Source Constitution Finder: University of Richmond
Translation Source is an English translation
Current as of May 11, 2011

Constitution Excerpts (clauses that reference religion)2


In the name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate…
We, the representatives of the Tunisian people, meeting as members of the Constituent National Assembly, proclaim the will of this people, who freed themselves from foreign domination thanks to their strong cohesion and their fight against tyranny, exploitation and regression,…
…to remain faithful to the teachings of Islam, to the unity of the Greater Maghreb, to its membership of the Arab community, and to cooperation with the peoples who struggle to achieve justice and liberty;…
…We, the representatives of the free and sovereign Tunisian people, do, by the grace of God, proclaim this Constitution. The Constitution of the Republic of Tunisia.

Article 1

Tunisia is a free, independent and sovereign state. Its religion is Islam, its language is Arabic and its type of government is the Republic.

Article 5

The Republic of Tunisia shall guarantee fundamental freedoms and human rights in their universality, comprehensiveness, complementarity and interdependence.
The Republic of Tunisia shall be founded upon the principles of the rule of law and pluralism and shall strive to promote human dignity and to develop the human personality.
The state and society shall strive to entrench the values of solidarity, mutual assistance and tolerance among individuals, social categories and generations.
The Republic of Tunisia shall guarantee the inviolability of the human person and freedom of conscience, and defends the free practice of religious beliefs provided this does not disturb public order.

Article 8

…No political party may take religion, language, race, sex or region as the foundation for its principles, objectives, activity or programs…

Article 21

Any voter born of a Tunisian father or mother and who is at least twenty-three years of age on the day he submits his candidacy, is eligible for election to the Chamber of Deputies.
A candidate to the Chamber of Advisors must be born of a Tunisian father or mother; he must also be at least forty years of age on the day he submits his candidacy, and he must be a voter.
These conditions apply to all the members of the Chamber of Advisors.
A candidate to the Chamber of Advisors must also have, as the case may be, a professional capacity entitling him to stand as candidate for the sector of employers, farmers or wage-earners.
Each member of the Chamber of Deputies and of the Chamber of Advisors shall, before assuming his functions, take the following oath:
"I swear by God the Almighty to serve my country loyally, to respect the Constitution and to pledge allegiance exclusively to Tunisia."

Article 38

The President of the Republic is the Head of State. His religion shall be Islam.

Article 40

May stand as a candidate for the presidency of the republic any Tunisian who has exclusively the Tunisian nationality and not possessing any other nationality, who is Muslim, and whose father, mother, and paternal and maternal grandfathers and grandmothers are all of Tunisian nationality without discontinuity.
In addition, the candidate shall, on the day he submits his candidacy, be at least 40 years of age and at most 75 years of age, and he shall enjoy all his civil and political rights.
Candidates shall be presented by a number of members of the Chamber of Deputies and municipal presidents, in accordance with the terms and conditions set out in the Electoral Code.
Candidacies are recorded on a specific register held by the Constitutional Council.
The Constitutional council decides on the validity of candidacies, proclaims ballot results and looks into requests submitted to it on this subject, in accordance with the provisions of the Electoral Code.

Article 42

The elected President of the Republic takes, before the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Advisors meeting in common session, the following oath:
"I swear by God Almighty to safeguard the independence of the country and the integrity of its territory, to respect the Constitution and the law, and to watch scrupulously over the interests of the Nation."


1.  Data under the "Features of Constitution" heading are drawn from coding of the U.S. State Department's 2008 International Religious Freedom Reports conducted by researchers at the Association of Religion Data Archives. The article by Brian Grim and Roger Finke describes the coding of the International Religious Freedom reports. A dataset with these and the other international measures highlighted on the country pages can be downloaded from this website. Used with permission.

2.  The constitutional excerpts shown above are reproduced from the websites given in the "Source" field; the links to these websites were active as of May 2011. Where the constitutional text shown on these websites was provided in a language other than English, this text was translated to English by ARDA staff with assistance from web-based translation utilities such as Google Translate and Yahoo! Babel Fish. Constitutional text was converted to American English where applicable. Constitutional clauses were judged to contain religious content based largely on the standards used in the construction of the Religion and State Constitutions Dataset collected by Jonathan Fox. Emphases were added to the text by ARDA staff to highlight religious content in articles that also contain content that does not pertain to matters of religion. The data on this page were correct to the best of the knowledge of the ARDA as of the date listed in the "Current as of" field shown above. Please contact us at support@thearda.com if you are aware of any incorrect information provided on this page.

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