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AssessmentsAug 26, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The Tunisian parliament holds a session in November 2018.
Tunisia's Budding Democracy Faces Its Biggest Test
In 2014, Beji Caid Essebsi became Tunisia's first-ever popularly elected president after the country famously ousted its authoritarian leader of 22 years, Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Caid Essebsi was also the country's first leader to respect the new, limited role of the presidency per the country's 2014 constitution. But whether that precedent continues will now be up to his successor. Following Caid Essebsi's death in July, Tunisia's presidential elections were moved up several weeks to mid-September. The balloting will carry heavy regional significance because as the Arab Spring showed, Tunisia wields an outsized influence on its regional peers, and its results could very well dictate the long-term sustainability of its democracy.
SnapshotsJun 28, 2019 | 17:30 GMT
Tunisia: The President's Ill Health Compounds the Woes of a Country on Edge
Reports emerged June 27 that Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia's 92-year-old president -- and former prime minister, foreign minister and president of the chamber of deputies -- had been taken to a Tunis hospital in poor health. Adding to the confusion, unconfirmed reports (subsequently denied by the president's office and his family) surfaced that Caid Essebsi had died of natural causes. But even though the presidential communications adviser has confirmed that Caid Essebsi is still alive, his absence -- whether temporary or final -- from the presidency could affect Tunisia's stability and overall direction.
AssessmentsSep 27, 2018 | 09:00 GMT
Tunisian women chant slogans and wave their national flag during a demonstration on Aug. 13, 2018, to mark Tunisia's Women's Day and to demand equal inheritance rights for men and women.
Tunisia's Two Sheikhs Are Frenemies No More
For the past four years Tunisian politics have been in near constant disarray, teetering on the brink of a crisis. But an uneasy alliance between President Beji Caid Essebsi, of the secular Nidaa Tounes party, and Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Islamist Ennahda party, has kept the fragile government functional. Until now. On Sept. 24, Caid Essebsi confirmed rumors that the four-year alliance between the two men, often called Tunisia's Two Sheikhs, was over. The split between the two political power brokers comes not long before Tunisia's parliament reconvenes in October after a two-month recess, and the consequences of the fracture will make it near impossible for the country to implement many necessary economic reforms.
ReflectionsJan 14, 2018 | 14:53 GMT
Protesters demand changes to Tunisia's newly formed government Jan. 20, 2011, less than a week after mass demonstrations forced longtime President Zine el Abedine Ben Ali to step down from office.
Seven Years Later, Tunisia Still Stands Apart
Wedged between Libya and Algeria, the North African republic of Tunisia is easy to overlook. But its small size, in terms of both area and population, and its low profile in regional affairs belie Tunisia's importance. As a Mediterranean country with deep economic ties to Europe and a stake in transnational security issues, Tunisia plays a critical role in the global order. And its significance in the Arab world is no less substantial. On Jan. 14, 2011, Tunisia became the first country to overthrow its government in what soon became known as the Arab Spring. Sunday marks the seventh anniversary of the momentous event, and as the date approached this year, Tunisians took to the streets once again, this time to protest austerity measures. The latest wave of unrest in the country -- hardly the first since 2011 -- is unlikely to upend Tunisia's fragile government. It does, however, underscore the
AssessmentsJun 23, 2017 | 16:02 GMT
Protesters turned out May 22 in Tunis to show their support for Tunisians who held a three-month sit-in in Tataouine province demanding jobs and a share of oil and natural gas revenues for their impoverished region.
Tunisia's Slow but Persistent Path to Reform
The Arab Spring shook North Africa to its core. In Egypt, the military tore down the Muslim Brotherhood nearly as quickly as the Islamist group rose to power, and six years on, the government looks much like it did before the wave of revolutions swept the region. The ouster of Moammar Gadhafi in neighboring Libya splintered the country into tribal militias, and today three rival governments are fighting for control there. Only Tunisia managed the transition from a dictatorship to a functioning representative democracy. But piecing a political system back together in the wake of a revolution can be a lengthy process. In the years since the Jasmine Revolution brought more than five decades of authoritarian rule in Tunisia to an end in 2011, the country has struggled to keep up the pace of reform. Disputes among the ruling coalition, between Islamist and secularist groups, and between the elite and marginalized
AssessmentsAug 22, 2016 | 15:43 GMT
Tunisia's New Leader Chooses a Controversial Cabinet
Tunisia's New Leader Chooses a Controversial Cabinet
Tunisia's interim prime minister, Youssef Chahed, has selected a new Cabinet, but his choices may make some lawmakers unhappy. After two weeks of intense negotiations with prospective candidates, trade unions, political parties and former legislators, Chahed presented the names of his appointees to President Beji Caid Essebsi on Aug. 20. The list includes representatives from a variety of organizations and independent interests, a fact that will benefit the country's smaller political parties at the expense of the larger ones.
AssessmentsMay 24, 2016 | 09:15 GMT
Tunisians gathered at a rally in the capital on Jan. 14 to mark the fifth anniversary of the Arab Spring. Despite the promises of its 2011 Jasmine Revolution, Tunisia's economy has languished.
Tunisia's Post-Arab Spring Struggles
Tunisia was once the Roman world's gateway to North Africa. Today, it is a relative backwater, even in the Mediterranean Basin. Its economy has been stagnant since the outbreak of the Arab Spring in 2011, even if its political climate has been more placid than those of other Arab Spring nations. The country has also acquired a paradoxical reputation as a bastion of both democracy and jihadism. The rise of jihadist militancy in the country's backlands has turned Tunisia's uneven development into an urgent global issue. Foreign aid has helped close Tunisia's border with Islamic State-occupied regions of Libya has helped but could backfire.
Quarterly ForecastsMar 28, 2016 | 08:45 GMT
It's tempting to blame Syria for all the geopolitical intrigue that will characterize the second quarter of 2016. It is the home of a protracted civil war, the source of Europe's migrant crisis and a major complication in Turkey's struggle with the Kurds. But in truth, Syria is merely a pawn in a larger game played by more powerful countries, each with their own designs in the Middle East.
2016 Second-Quarter Forecast
It's tempting to blame Syria for all the geopolitical intrigue that will characterize the second quarter of 2016. It is the scene of a protracted civil war, the source of Europe's migrant crisis and a major complication in Turkey's struggle with the Kurds. But in truth, Syria is merely a pawn in a larger game played by more powerful countries, each with their own designs in the Middle East.
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