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Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties

Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties
التكتل الديمقراطي من أجل العمل والحريات
French nameForum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés
PresidentKhalil Zaouia
Founded9 April 1994 (1994-04-09)
Legalized25 October 2002
IdeologySocial democracy[1]
Political positionCentre-left
European affiliationParty of European Socialists (Observer)
International affiliationProgressive Alliance
Socialist International
ColorsLight red
Assembly of the
of the People
0 / 217

The Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties (Arabic: التكتل الديمقراطي من أجل العمل والحريات, at-Takattul ad-Dīmuqrāṭī min ajl il-‘Amal wal-Ḥurriyyāt ; French: Forum démocratique pour le travail et les libertés), also referred to as Ettakatol or by its French acronym FDTL, is a social democratic political party in Tunisia. It was founded on 9 April 1994 and officially recognized on 25 October 2002.[3] Its founder and Secretary-General is the radiologist Mustapha Ben Jafar.[4]


During the rule of Ben Ali, the FDTL played only a secondary role. It was a member of the opposition 18 October Coalition for Rights and Freedoms alongside the Progressive Democratic Party, the Communist Party of Tunisian Workers and some Islamists. Although participating in legislative elections, it could not win any seats in the Tunisian parliament. Ettakatol's secretary-general Ben Jafar attempted to run for the 2009 presidential election, but was barred from the race.[5]

Elections of 2009

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In 2009, Ettakatol ran for the first time in the parliamentary elections, winning only 0.12% of the vote and no seats in the Chamber of Deputies.

For the presidential election held on the same day, the Mustapha Ben Jaafar announced his candidacy for the election. A new party leader who had not held elective congress at that time, Ben Jaafar defended his candidacy in an interview with Jeune Afrique.

He supported his candidacy on an analysis of lawyers on the constitutional amendment in July 2008. But Zuhair M'dhaffer, Minister Delegate to the Prime Minister for the Public Service and Administrative Development and former President of the Constitutional Council, insists that "the leader of a party has to be elected president by Congress, not by the founding body of the movement". However, Ben Jaafar said that "neither the constitution nor the electoral code, nor the law on political parties mention such a requirement" and that it depends on the rules of procedure of the parties.

On the occasion of its Ettakatol's first congress held on 29 and 30 May 2009, Mustapha Ben Jaafar was reconfirmed as secretary-general.

Ben Jaafar said his nomination confirmed by the Congress of the FDTL, especially for a "challenge to change the rules of the political game and break with the practices of another planet" while remaining open to dialogue, including with the party in power. He thinks that "failing to have equal means, [the candidates] should have the same chance to start" .

On 24 September, he was the last nominee to present his candidacy, saying that "there are people capable of assuming the highest political responsibilities [...] and the alternation of power is possible," his approach trying to "get Tunisians lethargy and resignation of the state in which they are".

His supporters gathered inside the Constitutional Council, it calls for the release of trade unionists convicted in the wake of the social movement of 2008 in the mining region of Redeyef. The Constitutional Council, however, invalidate the bid on the grounds that it does not meet the requirement that a candidate must be elected leader of his training for at least two years. Therefore, Ben Jaafar called 5 Oct to vote for Brahim who is the "only serious candidate," he said.

After the revolution

During the Tunisian Revolution 2010/11, Ettakatol developed into a main representative of the centre-left secular camp.[6] The Forum relies mainly on the voluntary commitment of its grassroot members and its activities in social media.[7] On 17 January 2011, Ettakatol's leader Ben Jafar was appointed Health Minister of the interim government by prime minister Mohamed Ghannouchi.[8] Protests on the streets however continued against the unchanged prevalence of ministers from Ben Ali's old dominant RCD party. The freshly appointed three ministers of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) immediately reacted and resigned just a day later. The same day, Ben Jafar joined them refusing to take up his position in the transitional government.[9]

In the Constituent Assembly election on 23 October 2011, Ettakatol won 20 of the 217 seats making it the fourth force in the Assembly. Subsequently, the FDTL came to an agreement with the two major parties, the Islamist Ennahda Movement and the secular Congress for the Republic (CPR), to share the three highest positions in state.[10] Accordingly, Ben Jafar was voted Speaker of the Assembly on 22 November.[11] In exchange, the Forum supported the election of CPR-leader Moncef Marzouki as interim President of the Republic, and the appointment of Ennahda's secretary-general Hamadi Jebali as Prime Minister.

Ettakatol was unanimously elected as a full member of the Socialist International at the congress held on 30 August 2012.[12] The party held its second congress on 7 July 2013; Ben Jafar was reconfirmed as secretary-general.[13]

The foundation of Nidaa Tounes in July 2013, led to a number of parliamentarians defecting from Ettakatol and other parties to join the new party.[14] In the 2014 parliamentary election, Ettakatol lost all of its previous 20 seats except for one in the Kasserine electoral district, which was reallocated by the Elections Authority sanctioning Nidaa Tounes for irregularities by party members.[15]


The FDTL is a member of the Socialist International[16] and observer of the Party of European Socialists.[17] Since 2007 the party has published an Arabic weekly newspaper entitled Mouatinoun (Citizens).


  1. ^ Medien, Ahmed (10 October 2011), Ettakatol – Forum Démocratique pour le Travail et les Libertés,, archived from the original on 2 April 2012, retrieved 21 October 2011
  2. ^ "Factbox – How Tunisia's election will work", Reuters, 22 October 2011, retrieved 22 October 2011
  3. ^ "Tunisia - Opposition Parties". Global Security. Retrieved 11 October 2014.
  4. ^ "Photo of Mustapha Ben Jaafar, 22 Jan 2011". Getty Images. Retrieved 28 January 2011.
  5. ^ Angelique Chrisafis (19 October 2011), "Tunisian elections: the key parties", The Guardian, retrieved 22 October 2011
  6. ^ Celeste Hicks (21 October 2011), "Tunisia election: Loving and loathing Islamists", BBC News, retrieved 22 October 2011
  7. ^ Sam Bollier (9 October 2011), "Who are Tunisia's political parties?", Al Jazeera, retrieved 21 October 2011
  8. ^ "Who are Tunisia's main opposition figures?", Reuters, 17 January 2011, archived from the original on 27 October 2014, retrieved 22 October 2011
  9. ^ "Tunisia: New government leaders quit ruling party". BBC News. 18 January 2011.
  10. ^ "Tunisia coalition agrees top government posts", BBC News, 21 November 2011, retrieved 23 November 2011
  11. ^ Sadok Ayari (22 November 2011), "Mustapha Ben Jaafar Elected President of the Constituent Assembly", Tunisia Live, archived from the original on 9 January 2012, retrieved 23 November 2011
  12. ^ Ettakatol elected permanent member of Socialist International, TAP, 30 August 2012
  13. ^ Ben Jaafar: Ettakatol Party's national congress achieved its main objectives, TAP, 9 July 2013
  14. ^ "Deux élues d'Ettakatol rejoignent Nidaa Tounès", Tunisie Numerique, 9 July 2013
  15. ^ Ben Hamdi, Monia (28 October 2014). "Tunisie: Répartition des 217 sièges du nouveau Parlement selon les résultats préliminaires des élections législatives" [Tunisia: Distribution of the 217 seats in the new parliament, according to preliminary election results]. Al Huffington Post Maghreb (in French). Tunis. Archived from the original on 31 October 2014. Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  16. ^ "Progressive Politics For A Fairer World". Socialist International. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  17. ^ "PES member parties". PES. Archived from the original on 3 May 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
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Democratic Forum for Labour and Liberties
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