Destour Socialist Party

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Destour Socialist Party


(DSP; Hizb ad-Destouri al-Isht-iraki), a political party in Tunisia. The Destour Socialist Party was founded in 1934 after a split in the bourgeois nationalist Destour (Constitution) Party; until October 1964 it was called the Neo-Destour Party.

The DSP fought against French rule in Tunisia, leading mass demonstrations in 1934, 1936, and 1938. It was repeatedly subjected to repression by colonial authorities. During World War II (1939–45) there was no unity among the DSP leaders; some hoped to achieve Tunisian independence with the support of the Axis powers, while others were antifascist. After Tunisia was liberated from the Italian and German occupiers in 1943, the party gradually regained its leading role in the national liberation movement. It was instrumental in the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence of Tunisia in 1946. From 1952 to 1954 it led armed demonstrations and a partisan struggle of Tunisian patriots. The DSP has been the nation’s governing party since Tunisia became independent on Mar. 20,1956.

In 1961 the DSP advanced the policy of building “Destour socialism,” which provides for the development of the state sector in the economy, the cooperation of agriculture, and the establishment of limitations on private foreign and domestic capital. In 1969, however, as a result of an intense struggle concerning Tunisia’s further development, the DSP leadership enacted measures that led to the restoration of private foreign and domestic capital. This policy was reaffirmed at the Eighth and Ninth Congresses of the DSP in 1971 and 1974.

The party leadership and staff consist of members of the intelligentsia and representatives of the petite and middle bourgeoisie. The party is influential among the affluent peasantry and part of the working class. The chairman-for-life of the DSP is Habib Bourguiba and the secretary-general is Hedi Nouira. The press organs are the newspapers Al-Amal and L’Action.


Ivanov, N. A. Krizis frantsuzskogo protektorata v Tunise. Moscow, 1971.
Bourguiba, H. Appui total aux réformes de structures. Tunis, 1968.
Nouira, H. Contrat de progrès: Rapport présenté au IX congrès du P. S. D. Tunis, 1974.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Ben Ja'far in 1976 co-founded the National Council of Liberties together with former members of the Destour Socialist Party (the then ruling organisation under President al-Habib Bourguiba).