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CrisisWatch Tunisia

Unchanged Situation

Both supporters and opponents of President Saïed’s power grab demonstrated in large numbers, illustrating growing polarisation. Tens of thousands 3 Oct marched across country in support of Saïed’s seizure of almost total power. In response, over 5,000 anti-Saïed protesters, largely mobilised by Islamist-inspired party An-Nahda and Islamo-populist Dignity Coalition, 10 Oct gathered in capital Tunis; five journalists injured during protest, while heavy police presence prevented any march down capital’s main avenue. Saïed 11 Oct unveiled new govt of 24 ministers, including many political newcomers, also nominated his close ally Taoufik Charfeddine as interior minister – a position he had previously held in Sept 2020-Jan 2021. Saïed 14 Oct dismissed members of assembly speaker’s cabinet, which critics said is equivalent to dissolving assembly. After former President Marzouki 9 Oct urged Paris to suspend its support for Saïed’s “dictatorial regime”, Saïed mid-Oct said he will withdraw Marzouki’s diplomatic passport, and judiciary 15 Oct opened investigation into Marzouki’s comments. Authorities 3 Oct detained MP Abdellatif Aloui and TV anchor Ameur Ayed for allegedly “conspiring against state security and insulting the army” after they strongly criticised Saïed in TV programme 1 Oct; 17 Oct arrested MP and former minister Mehdi Ben Gharbia on tax fraud and money-laundering charges. Saïed 21 Oct promised to launch “national dialogue” over country’s political and electoral systems but vowed to exclude “those who stole the people’s money and traitors”. Internationally, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell 19 Oct urged Saïed to restore constitutional order, said “parliament cannot stay closed indefinitely”; and EU parliament 21 Oct passed resolution calling for swift return to “full-fledged democracy”, urging Saïed to “engage in an inclusive national dialogue”. Amid economic turmoil, credit rating agency Moody’s 14 Oct downgraded country’s sovereign rating from B3 to Caa1, signalling growing concerns over Tunis’ ability to secure much-needed funding amid myriad challenges.
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Reports & Briefings

In The News

27 Jul 2021
There has been no talk about Tunisian institutions or keeping up any kind of democratic governance; it's just being portrayed as people who have liberated themselves from an oppressive Islamist government. Washington Post

Elham Fakhro

Former Senior Analyst, Gulf States
23 Jul 2020
There have been extremely difficult moments in Tunisia, where the country seemed to risk tumbling into the worst scenario. But there have always been politicians and unions keeping channels of discussion open. Voice of America

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
16 Feb 2020
Le vote [du parti islamiste Ennahda] reflète les tensions au sein du parti. Notamment concernant la succession de Rached Ghannouchi à sa tête qui doit se décider lors d’un congrès cette année. Le Croix

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
26 Jan 2020
If the [Tunisian] government (...) can’t channel populist concerns about sovereignty, there risks to be a lot of instability and protests. VOA

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
25 Feb 2018
There is tension between the [Tunisian] police and the judiciary [about ISIS militants]. The police say it’s because the judges are terrorists themselves. BuzzFeed

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia
14 Jan 2018
There is a fertile ground for social anger [in Tunisia] that needs to be taken into account. What will be interesting in the next days is how the youth movements will structure themselves. The New York Times

Michaël Béchir Ayari

Senior Analyst, Tunisia

Latest Updates

Q&A / Middle East & North Africa

La Tunisie se rend aux urnes dans un contexte délétère

Le premier tour de l’élection présidentielle anticipée tunisienne aura lieu ce dimanche 15 septembre. Selon l’analyste principal de Crisis Group sur la Tunisie, Michael Ayari, les risques de déraillement du processus électoral et de violences sont réels.

Décentralisation en Tunisie : consolider la démocratie sans affaiblir l’Etat

De plus en plus clivant, le processus de décentralisation tunisien risque d’alimenter les tensions sociales et politiques. Pour qu’il tienne ses promesses de réduction des inégalités socio-régionales et d’amélioration des services publics, il doit faire l’objet d’un nouveau compromis prévoyant notamment le renforcement des services territoriaux de l’Etat.

Also available in English

Tunisia in 2019: a Pivotal Year?

Divisions within Tunisia’s political leadership are preventing the government from addressing the country’s political and socio-economic challenges. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2019 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU to support measures that will prevent further polarisation.

Also available in Français

Tunisia’s Political Polarisation Worsens after First Big Terrorist Attack in Two Years

A 29 October suicide bombing in the heart of Tunis dealt a blow to much-improved security since the last violent jihadist attacks in 2015-16. In this Q&A, our Senior Analyst for Tunisia Michael B. Ayari says it has also hammered a new wedge into Islamist-secularist political divides.

Also available in Français

Tunisie : dépasser les querelles pour restaurer la confiance

Le maintien ou le départ du chef du gouvernement tunisien, Youssef Chahed, est depuis plusieurs semaines au cœur d’une crise politique. Si les principales forces politiques et syndicales échouent à trouver un compromis, la formation d’un gouvernement dit de technocrates pourrait permettre de renforcer la confiance et d’apaiser les rancœurs. 

Also available in English

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