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Tunisia

A stable Tunisia remains critical for security in North Africa as a whole. Yet its proximity to Libya leaves it exposed to dangerous spillover, as shown by March 2016’s deadly attack by ISIS militants on the border town of Ben Guerdane. Even with ISIS’ relative decline in the Levant and Libya, there is a risk that some of the thousands of Tunisian foreign fighters could return and exploit simmering social unrest. Local elections planned for May 2018, the first since the 2011 revolution, will reveal whether the stability that has endured since the 2013 political deal between Tunisia’s two main parties can hold. Crisis Group works to identify conflict triggers ahead of the coming elections, including tensions over economic and socio-regional inequality, and aims to broaden the political consensus established in 2013.

CrisisWatch Tunisia

Unchanged Situation

In second round of presidential elections 13 Oct, constitutional law professor with no political affiliation Kaïs Saïed won with 72.7% of votes, beating media mogul Nabil Karoui. In light of Karoui’s incarceration, Saïed 5 Oct stopped campaigning to ensure level playing field and avoid cancellation of second round. Appeal court 9 Oct freed Karoui, giving him several days to campaign. Saïed sworn in as president 23 Oct. In legislative elections 6 Oct, Islamist-inspired party An-Nahda won most seats with 52 out of 217, ahead of Karoui’s liberal party Heart of Tunisia, which won 38, according to preliminary results. An-Nahda launched consultations with several parties represented in parliament and independent MPs to form majority in parliament and then govt. PM Chahed 29 Oct dismissed foreign affairs and defence ministers and secretary of state for diplomacy, reportedly after consultation with President Saïed. Unidentified assailant killed French tourist and injured soldier with knife in Bizerte in north 14 Oct. Security forces arrested suspect next day, his motivations remained unclear.

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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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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