Tunis - Tunisia's new constitution, adopted in late January after two years of acrimonious debate, started coming into effect on Monday when it was published in the official journal.

The country's leaders signed the charter at the end of last month, three years after the uprising that toppled longtime dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and ignited the Arab Spring.

The charter was printed by the state publisher, and was available as a red booklet on Monday evening in a bookshop in the centre of Tunis.

A copy had already been delivered to the governorate of Tunis, an official at the body told AFP.

Assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar had ordered the document to be printed in a special edition of the official journal, and the constitution will come into force in stages following its publication.

Some articles of the basic law will not be immediately applicable, as they depend on the election of a new parliament and president, or the formation of new institutions, such as the constitutional court.

Since 2011, Tunisia has faced sporadic violence, including the assassination of two opposition politicians last year which sparked a major political crisis between the majority Islamist party Ennahda and their secular opponents.

Sapa-AFP