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CrisisWatch Tunisia

Deteriorated Situation

In worst political crisis since 2011, President Saïed extended parliament’s suspension indefinitely, consolidating his power grab. Following late-July move to dismiss govt, suspend parliament and assume public prosecutor’s powers, Saïed 5 Aug said there was “no turning back”, dismissed “dialogue except with the honest” and pledged “rights and freedoms” would not be violated. Several prominent civil society organisations same day jointly called on Saïed to swiftly release roadmap for ending exceptional measures. Parliament Speaker Rached Ghannouchi 11 Aug acknowledged public anger over country’s economic and political situation, pledged his Islamist-inspired An-Nahda party – which was part of coalition govt and largest group in parliament – would “engage in self-criticism” and review its policies to match Tunisians’ aspirations; also stressed situation does not justify taking “step back from democracy”. Saïed 23 Aug however extended suspension of parliament “until further notice”. Dismissal of senior govt officials continued, including Economy Minister Ali Kooli and Communications Technology Minister Mohamed Fadhel Kraiem 2 Aug. Reshuffle of top security officials also under way: Saïed 18 Aug reportedly appointed new director general of national security and new commander of National Guard, while interior ministry next day appointed nine senior officials including new intelligence chief. Meanwhile, authorities 6 Aug placed senior An-Nahda official and former Minister Anouar Maarouf under house arrest over alleged abuse of authority; 12 Aug arrested 14 individuals including public officials and issued arrest warrants for three others, including former industry minister, for alleged corruption; former head of anti-corruption body Chawki Tabib placed under house arrest 20 Aug after security forces earlier same day took control of body’s headquarters in capital Tunis. NGO Amnesty International 26 Aug said at least 50 people, including judges, senior state officials and civil servants, arbitrarily barred from travelling abroad over past month, noted total number facing travel bans likely to be far greater; Saied 16 Aug said travel bans form part of efforts to prevent people suspected of corruption or of posing security threat from leaving country. Egypt 3 Aug expressed support for Saïed’s “historic measures”, while U.S. 13 Aug urged “swift return to...parliamentary democracy”, stressed “need to appoint a PM-designate”.
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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

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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