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CrisisWatch Tunisia

Unchanged Situation

President Saïed declared new voting system and seized control of election commission, threatening electoral level playing field and entrenching one-man rule. Saïed 6 April unilaterally declared new voting system ahead of Dec elections: voting to take place in two rounds and electorate to vote for individuals rather than lists. Presidential decree reforming election commission issued 22 April: Saïed to select three of existing nine members to serve in new seven-member panel along with three judges (chosen by judiciary, which Saïed has also taken over) and information technology specialist. U.S. State Dept 26 April expressed “deep concern” over Saïed’s move to restructure election authority. Meanwhile, anti-terrorism police 1 April summoned several members of now-dissolved Parliament – including Parliament Speaker (and Islamist-inspired An-Nahda party President) Rached Ghannouchi – for questioning after they voted in late-March online session to cancel all measures decreed by Saïed since July power grab; MPs reportedly under investigation for “seeking to change the form of government”. Saïed early April held consultations with powerful labour union UGTT, employers’ association UTICA, National Bar Association and NGO Human Rights League in preparation for long-awaited national dialogue aimed at “building the new Republic”; UGTT Sec Gen Nourredine Taboubi 13 April said union would only participate in inclusive dialogue after Saïed ruled out talks with political opposition. Hundreds 10 April joined protest organised by An-Nahda and civil society platform “Citizens Against the Coup” in capital Tunis, denounced Saïed’s power grab and demanded return to constitutional path. In bid to form united front against Saïed and re-establish constitutional and democratic processes, opposition Al-Amal party leader Nejib Chebbi 26 April launched “National Salvation Front” alliance of five political parties, including An-Nahda, and five civil society organisations. Military court 8 April sentenced journalist Amer Ayyad and politician Abdellatif Aloui to four and three months in prison, respectively, for criticising Saïed during TV program in Oct 2021. Govt 30 April said authorities arrested ten suspects for planning terrorist attacks against security forces.

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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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