Tunis court confirms dissolution of Ben Ali party

TUNIS (Reuters) – A Tunisian court has rejected an appeal by the party of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali against a ruling that it be dissolved, the official TAP news agency said Monday.

A judge in the Tunis Court of First Instance Court ruled on March 9 that Ben Ali’s Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) be disbanded and its funds seized, provoking street celebrations as one of the last vestiges of the ousted leader’s rule was dismantled.

The party lodged an appeal a few days later.

“The appeals court rejected the appeal lodged regarding the dissolution of Constitutional Democratic Rally party,” TAP said.

Monday’s ruling confirmed the March 9 ruling to dissolve the party, preventing the RCD from putting forward a candidate in future elections.

Ben Ali was toppled on January 14 after mass protests and fled to Saudi Arabia, ending 23 years of autocratic rule.

Interim authorities have struggled to restore stability in the North African country but earlier this month set out a transition road map.

A caretaker government of technocrats led by Beji Caid Sebsi, a respected figure with no ties to the ousted president, was unveiled after the collapse of two previous interim administrations which included members of Ben Ali’s old guard.

An election has been called on July 24 to choose a national assembly which will rewrite the constitution.

The request to disband the RCD was filed on February 21 by the Interior Ministry, following accusations that party members had played a role in instability since Ben Ali was toppled.

Ben Ali loyalists fought gun battles with Tunisian soldiers shortly after his removal and were suspected of inciting subsequent clashes in parts of the country.

Ben Ali took office in 1987 and, after initial economic reforms, was widely regarded as a repressive ruler who raided state coffers while ignoring the plight of the poor.

(Reporting by Tarek Amara; Writing by Marie-Louise Gumuchian; Editing by Andrew Dobbie)

Tunis court confirms dissolution of Ben Ali party