Tunisia: A Divergent Path


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A look into Social and Political Dynamics of Tunisia; pre- and post- Arab Spring.

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Tunisia: A Divergent Path

  1. 1. Official Name: Tunisian RepublicPopulation: 10,732,900 (est. July 2012)Language: Arabic, (French used ingovernment and commerce)Religion: Islam 98% Christian 1%Judaism 1%Ethnicities: Arab 98% , Berber 1%Other 1%
  2. 2.  The authoritarian and oppressive regime attempted to implement liberal reforms in order to maintain power. These proved to be a double-edged sword; prompting significant economic growth, while spawning popular uprisings against the regime and ultimately leading to the Arab Spring. A successful transition will serve as a model for other countries, while a failure potentially stands to unravel the progress of the Arab Spring.
  3. 3.  1956 20 March - Tunisia becomes independent with Bourguiba as prime minister. 1981 - First multi-party parliamentary elections since independence. President Bourguibas party wins by a landslide. 1987 - Bloodless palace coup: Prime Minister Zine El Abidine Ben Ali has President Bourguiba declared mentally unfit to rule and takes power himself. 1989 - Ben Ali wins presidential elections. He goes on to be re-elected four more times. 1999 - First multi-party presidential elections; Ben Ali wins a third term. 2002 May - President Ben Ali wins a referendum on constitutional changes, paving the way for his fourth term. 2009 October - President Ben Ali wins a fifth term in office. 2010 December - Protests break out over unemployment and political restrictions, and spread nationwide. 2011 January - President Ben Ali goes into exile amid continuing protests. Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi announces an interim national unity government, only partly satisfying protesters. 2011 October 23 - Parliamentary elections. Ennahda Islamist party wins, but falls short of an outright majority. 2011 November - National assembly which will draft a new constitution meets for first time. 2012 May - Hundreds of Salafi Islamic extremists clash with security forces and attack a police station 2012 June - Former president Ben Ali is sentenced to life in prison over the killing of protesters
  4. 4. THEN Now•Strong rates of growth since independence •Economy is suffering post Arab•Economic success in large part due to manufacturing but Springindustry and services also significant •Tourism, remittances, FDI all hit•Well-educated workforce; 80% are considered middle class hardcitizens with a per capita income of $3000•Most open trading of the Maghreb countries(imports/exports reached 92.5% GDP in 2004)•Relied heavily on West/EU for trade•Remittances, tourism, export agriculture, FDI bolsteredeconomy•Unemployment was still an issue despite economic growthand was exacerbated by world economic crisis•State economic involvement highest in heavy industry,infrastructure, and domestic services•6 period of political economic development (institutionaldevelopment, nationalization, private sector promotion,economic crisis and adjustment, limited structural reforms)
  5. 5. THEN NOW (POST ARAB SPRING) Government Type: Republic Strong Central Executive  National Constitutional Assembly Mixed legal system of civil law and French Multi-Party elections civil code Rise of Islamist Party - Ennahda Single Party System? Article 8 Appointment of an Interim Government President – Moncef Marzouki President Habib Bourguiba Prime Minister – Hamadi Jebali Partie Democratique Socialiste (PSD) Draft a Constitution “President for life” Bloodless coup d’etat Mixed Parliamentary System? Announced elections President Zine al-Albidine Ben Ali Rassemblement Constitutionel Democratique (RCD) Secular vs Salafists Movement Many Political Reforms
  6. 6. THEN NOW•French rule had heavy influence •Salafist movement•3 groups propelled nationalism: •Not official political party •Young Tunisians thus taking shape within •Destour movement society •Neo Destour •Able to develop alongside•Bourguiba reformed Personal Status Code with political new freedommotivation•Creating the Parti Democratique Socialiste (PSD) tied the •http://www.youtube.com/government to society even further watch?v=YFqv9dkWEN4 •Focused most of its social development in education and creating private sector •“technos” and away from “ethnos”•State control over society not always secure;widespread strikes and labor protests in 1978 and1983•Ben Ali utilized extreme secularismhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y0b8hPCMuAk
  7. 7. Foreign Policy Goals
  8. 8. •Army and police force constitutionally under command of the President•Army is conscripted; police/national guards recruit members•Network of clandestine intelligence services permeated society•Military and security were not formally attached to politics but Ben Ali rose topower through intelligence•Security played major role in policing after bloodless coup•Under Ben Ali, Islamist “threat” met by zero tolerance policy and was monitoredby security•Military serves with UN intl peacekeeping forces•Close relationship with the West•-Support of US anti-terrorism efforts
  9. 9. Relations with Neighbors Then: Relations with Algeria and Libya are complicated, at best. Fear of “Revolutionary Socialism” Initially supported the FLN in Algeria and worked for cease-fire Relations deteriorated with failure of diplomatic agreement Moderate-Arab nationalism Arab-Israeli Negotiations Support for Yemeni Royalists Expulsion from the Arab League Now: Algeria is cautious of Tunisia, fearing spill over from the popular uprisings Libyan-Tunisian relations have strengthened Rebuilding of Eastern Libya
  10. 10. THEN: NOW:•History of close ties with the West •West is hesitant to become involved in Tunisian affairs•Joined IMF in 1958 •Growing presence of•Housed the PLO after Lebanese invasion in Salafists/Islamists deepen West’s1981 fears of instability/failure of Arab Spring•First country to sign EU European-Mediterranean partnership (MEDA)agreement•Opposed the first Gulf War against Iraq andthe US led invasion in 2003
  11. 11. - Tunisia remains a strategic ally for the United States and the West in their goal to stop the spread of religious extremism and a model for development and progress in a volatile region.- Tunisia is on the precipice of two different paths. If Tunisia can maintain stability and democratize, it will serve as a model for other Arab Spring states and future states undergoing similar processes. If Tunisia fails, it stands to potentially further destabilize the volatile region and unravel the progress made by the Arab Spring, as the others will most likely fail.
  12. 12.  The Middle East (Text). “Tunisia” (Pp 702-729) Hachana, Mohamed Nejib. "Twenty Years of Change: Tunisias Journey of Progress Continues." Mediterranean Quarterly 19, no. 2 (Spring2008): 1-4. Sanchez, Alejandro. "Tunisia: Trading Freedom for Stability May Not Last - An International Security Perspective." Defense Studies 9, no. 1 (March 1, 2009): 85-92. “Tunisia Country Report.” Economist Intelligence Unit, April 2010 US State Department: Tunisia: http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/5439.htm CIA World Factbook: Tunisia https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/ts.html