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CrisisWatch Tunisia

Unchanged Situation

In first major terrorist attack in capital Tunis since 2015, thirty-year-old female suicide bomber 29 Oct blew herself up in centre of capital Tunis, twenty injured including fifteen police officers; by end Oct no group had claimed responsibility. Power struggle between President Essebsi and PM Chahed continued. Businessman and leader of Free Patriotic Union (UPL) party Slim Riahi switched allegiance from Chahed to Essebsi; UPL, previously member of pro-Chahed alliance in parliament, 14 Oct merged with ruling party Nida Tounes, depriving Chahed of simple majority needed to counter potential vote of no-confidence in parliament. Riahi appointed Nida Tounes secretary general 17 Oct. Essebsi’s chief of staff Slim Azzabi resigned 9 Oct, reportedly in part because Essebsi’s 8 Oct statement sealing end of alliance between members of ruling coalition, Nida Tounes and An-Nahda, came from Nida Tounes party, not from presidential office. Prominent Nida Tounes leader Borhen Bsaies arrested 2 Oct for alleged corruption under former President Ben Ali after Tunis court of appeal upheld Feb sentence of two years in prison. Far-left and Arab nationalist coalition Popular Front 2 Oct presented purported evidence of existence of parallel security apparatus in An-Nahda, several An-Nahda leaders denied allegations; in past claims that political groups have parallel security apparatuses have served as pretext for their criminalisation.

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Reports & Briefings

In The News

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

Strengthening Institutions in Tunisia

Tunisia is in limbo between two different forms of government, deepening socio-economic difficulties for many citizens and putting the country’s security at risk. In this excerpt from our Watch List 2018, Crisis Group proposes that the EU and its member states use their influence to persuade Tunisia actively to promote economic growth and speed up government restructuring.

En Tunisie, « le risque d’une dérive autoritaire »

Pour les chercheurs d’ICG, Michaël Ayari et Issandr El-Amrani, le pouvoir tunisien doit parachever la transition démocratique sept ans après la chute de Ben Ali.

Originally published in Le Monde Afrique

On the Politics behind Tunisia’s Protests

Analysis on the politics behind the scenes of the ongoing protests in Tunisia.

Originally published in The Arabist

Stemming Tunisia’s Authoritarian Drift

As dangerous signs of political polarisation mark the seventh anniversary of the 14 January 2011 Tunisian uprising, Crisis Group’s Tunisia Senior Analyst Michaël Béchir Ayari reflects on a growing but illusory popular nostalgia for strong, centralised government to get a grip on the country. He argues that to save the Arab world’s sole successful transition since 2011, the governing coalition should enact promised reforms, create a Constitutional court and hold long-delayed local elections.

Breaking Taboos in Tunisia

Tunisia has struggled to stay on track during the turmoil of the Arab uprisings. A dedicated Tunisia analyst, unique field work and privileged access to influential actors helps Crisis Group play a leading role in shaping policies to ensure the country’s democratic transition stays peaceful.

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