About Tunisia• Independence: March 20 1956 from France• Population: Around 10 million• Density: 63/Km2• Religion: Islamic
Tunisian Politics• Constitutional republic, with a president serving as chief of state, prime minister as head of government.• While Tunisia is formally a democracy with a multi-party system, the secular Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD), formerly Neo Destour, has controlled the country as one of the most repressive regimes in the Arab World since its independence in 1956.
Tunisian Politics• President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali had been in office since 1987.• He was the 2nd president of the country after Habib Bourguiba from the same party.• He won the elections in 2009 with a landslide votes of 89.62% for him. The Voter turnout was 89.45%
Unrest• However, the government is widely criticized for its corruption and nepotism.• Government accused of Kleptocracy for controlling much of the business sector in the country.• Jan 2008 issue of Foreign Policy Magazine reported that Tunisias First Lady had been using the 737 Boeing Business Jet of the government to make "unofficial visits" to European Fashion Capitals.
Trigger Point• The trigger point for the unrest came after the self Immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, a graduate who took the drastic step after his fruit cart was consicated.
Jasmine Revolution• 17 Dec 2010 : Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire in Protest of his fruit cart being confiscated by authorities.• 18 Dec 2010 : Wide spread riots in Sidi Bouzid region.• 22 Dec 2010 : Several other take the extreme steps to protest against the repressive government.• 27 Dec 2010 : Protest reaches Capital with thousands expressing solidarity with residents of Sidi Bouzid and calling for jobs.• 29 Dec 2010 : Ben Ali shuffled his cabinet to remove his communications minister.
Jasmine Revolution• 3 Jan 2011 : Protests turn violent with forces using tear gas and rioter burning tires and attacking officers.• 4 Jan 2011 : Ben Ali promises 300,000 new jobs would be created, though he does not clarify what that meant.• 6 Jan 2011 : Lawyers go on a strike to protest against “unjustified attacks”• 10 Jan 2011 : Government announced the indefinite closure of all schools and universities.• 14 Jan 2011 : Ben Ali dissolved his government and declared a state of emergency. He fled the country on the very same day.• 14 Jan 2011 : Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi then briefly took over as acting president. Ben Ali fled to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.• 16 Jan 2011: Imed Trabelsi, a nephew of Ben Alis wife, died from a stab wound he received 2 days before. He was the first victim of the Ben Alis extended family during the protests.
Significance of the Protest• Tunisia is one of the rich country in the neighborhood with a relatively stable government.• Ben Ali had won the elections with a majority of 90 % but was still ousted due to this protest.• The revolution brought to surface the issues faced by the Tunisian people under a repressive government.• It led to the removal of the CDR government which had been ruling the nation since its independence.• Has caused similar protests to surface in the neighboring countries.