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CrisisWatch Tunisia

Unchanged Situation

President Saïed pushed ahead with plan to draft new constitution despite mounting opposition, while economy remained in doldrums. Saïed 9 May appointed all seven members of new Independent High Authority for the Elections (ISIE), including three he chose directly. ISIE 13 May presented to Saïed draft electoral calendar leading up to constitutional referendum scheduled for 25 July. Saïed around 20 May issued decree creating consultative commission tasked with drafting new constitution, and establishing National Dialogue Committee to lead consultations with some stakeholders. Several politicians in following days denounced moves, with MP Hichem Ajbouni saying drafting commission lacked inclusiveness, while powerful labor union UGTT 6 and 23 May confirmed boycott of national dialogue which “marginalises the active national political and social forces”. Pro- and anti-Saïed protests continued. A few hundreds 8 May gathered in capital Tunis in support of Saïed’s “course correction”, said “traitors should be accountable”. In largest demonstration in several months, thousands 15 May gathered in Tunis at initiative of civil society platform Citizens Against the Coup and new opposition alliance National Salvation Front to protest Saïed’s tightening grip on power. In audio recordings leaked late April-early May, voice alleged to be that of former chief of Presidential Cabinet, Nadia Akacha, described Saïed as “mentally unstable”; Akacha immediately dismissed leaks as fakes and prosecutors 4 May announced investigation to determine recordings’ authenticity. Economy remained in disarray, with value of Tunisian bonds collapsing on international financial market in May. Amid rising inflation, milk producers and other farmers 7-10 May protested in rural areas to demand increase in prices of agricultural products (which are determined by govt), claiming they no longer cover production costs. UGTT 16 May said Algeria currently considering cutting gas supplies to Tunisia if latter has not paid its gas debt by late July; 23 May called for national strike over wages and economic crisis.

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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

Tunisie : éviter les surenchères populistes

Le nouveau gouvernement et président tunisiens représentent des forces politiques qui ont émergé lors des élections de la fin 2019, suscitant populisme, polarisation et tensions. Avec le soutien judicieux de l’Union européenne, la nouvelle classe politique devrait se concentrer sur l’économie et choisir la voie du dialogue et de la réforme administrative.

Also available in English

Tunisia Looks to Reset with the West

Tunisia’s new president risks heightened tensions and instability as he aims to tackle worsening socio-economic conditions. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2020 for European policymakers, Crisis Group urges the EU, as Tunisia’s main trading partner, to prevent strife by accommodating Tunisia’s will for greater economic self-determination. 

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.

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