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Tunisia at a crossroads: which rules for which transition?

[working paper]

Hachemaoui, Mohammed

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Corporate Editor Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik -SWP- Deutsches Institut für Internationale Politik und Sicherheit
Abstract "Since the fall of the autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali on 14 January 2011, Tunisia is often described as the 'good student' of the democratic transition in the Arab world. This positive interpretation has become even more engrained in that the political changes underway since the 'Arab revolutions' seem to oscillate between civil war and a return to authoritarianism. In fact, compared to Libya and Egypt, Tunisia presents itself as the 'only hope' remaining from the so-called Arab Spring. Combined, these factors appear to work like a self-fulfilling prophecy in the sense that the democratic transition in Tunisia is invariably seen as having been successfully accomplished. However, according to another interpretation of events, diametrically opposed to the latter, a 'religious counter-revolution' has been underway since the Ennahda Movement has arrived in power. According to this view, the attempts of the Islamist party to constitutionalize the sharia, to criminalize blasphemy and to establish the role of women as ‘complementary’ to men, constitute the realization of the objectives advocated by political Islam. Unless we consider the homicides of the opponents Lotfi Naguedh in October 2012, Chokri Belaid in February 2013 and Mohamed Brahmi in July 2013 as peripheral events, the political process at work in Tunisia since the founding elections of 23 October 2011 is even more complex than suggested by the two above-mentioned interpretations. Shedding doubt on the commonly recognized reports, this study explores questions that have been examined little or not at all to date: Who governs what transition? To what degree are the post-authoritarian institutions really democratic? To which scenarios might the transition lead?" (author's abstract)
Keywords Tunisia; political change; democratization; Islam; political power; hegemony; constitutional amendment; political reform; political system; authoritarian system; transition; political violence; formation of a government; repression; North Africa; Arab countries
Classification Political Process, Elections, Political Sociology, Political Culture; Political System, Constitution, Government
Document language English
Publication Year 2013
City Berlin
Page/Pages 29 p.
Series SWP Research Paper, 6/2013
ISSN 1863-1053
Status Published Version; reviewed
Licence Deposit Licence - No Redistribution, No Modifications