November 1979: Tunisia's clandestine Islamic fundamentalists begin first organized meetings. October 1981: Massive fraud in legislative elections keeps opposition parties from winning seats.

January 1984: Violent riots, called the "conscious revolt," are instigated by a rise in the price of bread. Principal targets are symbols of the central government and the West.

November 1987: Interior Minister and Army Gen. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali ousts the president-for-life, Habib Bourguiba, saying the president was senile and a danger to the country.

April 1989: Special presidential and legislative elections result in 99 percent vote for Mr. Ben Ali and a single-party national assembly.

June 1990: Municipal elections held, with strong results for "independents" recognized as being fundamentalist sympathizers. But ruling party is almost uniformly victorious.

August 1990: Ben Ali condemns Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, but rejects deployment of Western troops on Arab soil. Tunisians are largely sympathetic to Iraq.

April 1991: Ben Ali announces new measures of support for legal opposition parties.

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