Thursday, January 24, 2013

On April 20, 2012, U.S. Treasury Secretary

On April 20, 2012, U.S. Treasury Secretary [9] and Tunisian Finance Minister Houcine Dimassi signed a declaration of intent[10] to move forward on a U.S. loan guarantee for Tunisia. The U.S. Government would provide this loan guarantee to enable the Tunisian government to access significant market financing at affordable rates and favorable maturities with the backing of a U.S. guarantee of principal and interest (up to 100 percent). HP HSTNN-W34C Battery   The support would consist of the U.S. guarantee of Tunisian government-issued debt (or of bank loans made to the Government of Tunisia). This guarantee will significantly reduce the Tunisian government’s borrowing costs at a time when market access has become more expensive for many emerging market countries. HP HSTNN-W48C Battery In the weeks ahead, both governments intend to make progress on a loan guarantee agreement that would allow Tunisia to move forward with a debt issuance. The ceremony took place at the World Bank immediately following the meeting of Finance Ministers of the Deauville Partnership with Arab Countries in Transition. HP HSTNN-W49C Battery   Tunisia is situated on the Mediterranean coast of North Africa, midway between the Atlantic Ocean and the Nile Delta. It is bordered by Algeria on the west and Libya on the south east. It lies between latitudes 30° and 38°N, and longitudes 7° and 12°E. An abrupt southward turn of the Mediterranean coast in northern Tunisia gives the country two distinctive Mediterranean coasts, HP HSTNN-W50C Battery west-east in the north, and north-south in the east. Tunisia is about the size of the American state of Wisconsin. Despite its relatively small size, Tunisia has great environmental diversity due to its north-south extent. Its east-west extent is limited. Differences in Tunisia, like the rest of the Maghreb, HP HSTNN-W52C Battery are largely north-south environmental differences defined by sharply decreasing rainfall southward from any point. The Dorsal, the eastern extension of the Atlas Mountains, runs across Tunisia in a northeasterly direction from the Algerian border in the west to the Cape Bon peninsula in the east. HP HSTNN-XB24 Battery North of the Dorsal is the Tell, a region characterized by low, rolling hills and plains, again an extension of mountains to the west in Algeria. In the Khroumerie, the northwestern corner of the Tunisian Tell, elevations reach 1,050 meters (3,440 ft) and snow occurs in winter. HP HSTNN-XB37 Battery The Sahel, a broadening coastal plain along Tunisia's eastern Mediterranean coast, is among the world's premier areas of olive cultivation. Inland from the Sahel, between the Dorsal and a range of hills south of Gafsa, are the Steppes. Much of the southern region is semi-arid and desert. Tunisia has a coastline 1,148 kilometres (713 mi) long. HP HSTNN-XB41 Battery In maritime terms, the country claims a contiguous zone of 24 nautical miles (44.4 km; 27.6 mi), and a territorial sea of 12 nautical miles (22.2 km; 13.8 mi). Tunisia's climate is temperate in the north, with mild rainy winters and hot, dry summers. Temperatures in July and August can exceed 40°C. HP HSTNN-XB43 Battery Winters are mild with temperatures rarely exceeding above 20°C (exception is the south-west of the country). The south of the country is desert. The terrain in the north is mountainous, which, moving south, gives way to a hot, dry central plain. The south is semiarid, and merges into the Sahara. HP HSTNN-XB45 Battery A series of salt lakes, known as chotts or shatts, lie in an east-west line at the northern edge of the Sahara, extending from the Gulf of Gabes into Algeria. The lowest point is Chott el Djerid, at −17 m (−55.8 ft), and the highest is Jebel ech Chambi, at 1,544 metres (5,066 ft). The politics of Tunisia function within a framework of a democratic constitutional republic, HP HSTNN-XB4X Battery with a President serving ashead of state, Prime Minister as head of government, a bicameral legislature and a court system influenced by French civil law. Between 1956 and 2011, Tunisia operated as a de facto single party state, with politics dominated by the secularConstitutional Democratic Rally (RCD) under former Presidents Habib Bourgiba and then Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. HP HSTNN-XB59 Battery However, in 2011 a national uprising led to the resignation of the President and the dismantling of the RCD, paving the way for a multi-party democracy. Tunisia is a member of the Arab League, the African Union and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. HP HSTNN-XB60 Battery It maintains close relations with France and the European Union, with which it entered an Association Agreement in 1995.[1] Tunisia’s favorable relations with the European Union was earned following years of successful economic cooperation in the private sector and infrastructure modernization. HP HSTNN-XB61 Battery   In Tunisia, the President is elected to five-year terms. He appoints a Prime Minister and cabinet, who play a strong role in the execution of policy. Regional governors and local administrators also are appointed by the central government. Mayors and municipal councils are elected. The lower house of the bicameral Parliament is the Chamber of Deputies of Tunisia (Majlis al-Nuwaab), which has 214 seats. HP HSTNN-XB70 Battery Members are elected by popular vote to serve five-year terms. 20% At least 25% of the seats in the House of Deputies are reserved for the opposition. More than 27% of the members of the Chamber of Deputies are women. The Lower House plays a growing role as an arena for debate on national policy especially that it hosts representatives from six opposition parties. HP HSTNN-XB71 Battery Opposition members often vote against bills or abstain. Because of the comfortable majority enjoyed by the governing party, bills usually pass with only minor changes.[3] The upper house is the Chamber of Advisors, which includes 112 members including representatives of governorates (provinces), professional organizations and national figures. HP HSTNN-XB72 Battery 41 members are appointed by the Head of state while the remainder are elected by their peers. About 15% of the members of the Chamber of advisors are women.[4] The Tunisian legal system is based on French civil law system and Islamic law[2]; some judicial review of legislative acts in the Supreme Court in joint session. The judiciary is independent, although the judicial council is chaired by the head of state. HP HSTNN-XB73 Battery   Since 1987 Tunisia has reformed its political system several times, abolishing life-term presidencies and opening up the parliament to opposition parties. The number of new political parties and associations has notably increased since the beginning of Ben Ali's presidency in 1987. Currently there are eight recognized national parties, six of which hold national legislative seats. HP HSTNN-XB76 Battery   Since his accession to the Presidency, the President's party, known as the Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), rallied majorities in local, regional, and national elections. Although the party was renamed (in President Bourguiba’s days it was the Socialist Destourian Party), its policies were still considered to be largely secular and conservative. HP HSTNN-XB79 Battery However, the Tunisian Revolution in 2011 saw its removal from power. The Tunisian national elections of 2009, overseen by the Interior Ministry and held on October 25, 2009, elected candidates for president and legislative offices. During the campaign, speeches by candidates were aired on Tunisian radio and television stations.[5] HP HSTNN-XB87 Battery Participation was 89% of resident citizens and 90% of citizens living abroad. In the presidential vote, Ben Ali soundly defeated his challengers, Mohamed Bouchiha (PUP), Ahmed Inoubli (UDU) and Ahmed Ibrahim (Ettajdid Movement) for a fifth term in office. His 89% of the vote was slightly lower than in the 2004 election.[6] HP HSTNN-XB89 Battery In the parliamentary elections, the RCD received 84% of the vote for 161 constituency seats. The MDS won 16 seats under the proportional representation system, followed by the PUP with 12 seats. 59 women were elected to legislative seats.[7] The election was criticized by opposition parties and some international observers for limitations placed on non-incumbents. HP HSTNN-XB90 Battery In one instance, the Ettajdid party's weekly publication, Ettarik al-Jadid, was seized by authorities for violating campaign communications laws.[8] Meanwhile, a delegation from the African Union Commission praised the election for taking place with "calm and serenity"[9] Prior to the 2009 election, Tunisia amended its constitution to allow more candidates to run for president, HP HSTNN-XB91 Battery allowing the top official from each political party to compete for the presidency regardless of whether they held seats in parliament. Women hold 23% of the seats in the Chamber of Deputies, outpacing the percentage of women serving in the U.S. Congress, which stands at 17% in the 111th Congress. HP HSTNN-XB93 Battery More than one-fifth of the seats in both chambers of parliament are held by women, an exceptionally high level in the Arab world.[12] Tunisia is the only country in the Arab world where polygamy is forbidden by law. This is part of a provision in the country’s Code of Personal Status which was introduced by President Bourguiba in 1956. HP HSTNN-XB94 Battery  

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