Tunisia gained independence in 1956 (from France) and the legal system is some sort of a mix between the French civil law system and Islamic law). Suffrage is universal for all above 18 years of age (with some exceptions). Ben Ali had been in power since 1987, ‘elected’ by popular vote every 5 years.
The size of the population in Tunisia is about the same as in belgium (i.e. 10 million) but with almost 30% between 0 and 14 years old and a median age of 29.7 years. 67% of the population lives in urban areas, 98% are muslims and the life expectancy stands at 75.99 years.
GDP per capita in Purchasing Power Parities is the 114th lowest in the world (9,500$), 18% of the labour force is still in agriculture and 31% in industry. The unemployment rate is 14%, not impressively high (cf. Spanish unemployment rate currently stands at 20%), the poverty rate is 3.8%, and Public debt is at 49% of GDP.
The literacy rate is 74.3%, though funnily enough 7.2% of GDP is spent on education (cf. 6.7% in Sweden and 5.6% in France).
At 1.4% of GDP, military expenditures are lower than in the US (4%), Greece (4.3%), France (2.6%), the UK (2.4%), and Portugal (2.3%).
All these statistics are taken from: https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ts.html