Tunisia: democratic hopes


The fifth anniversary of the fall of Ben Ali is a bittersweet moment for most Tunisians. On the one hand, they are proud to be the only Arab country to succeed in advancing towards an inclusive democracy. On the other, insecurity is on the rise, the economy is flat, unemployment is up, the price of staple foods is rising and the image of the President Beji Caid Essebsi has been tarnished as he has imposed his son Hafedh as leader of the majority party which he helped found three years ago, Nida Tunes. CIDOB will continue to analyse, as it has been doing until now, Tunisia’s economic, political and security challenges as well as Europe’s policies towards this country and the entire region. 


Something is Rotten in the State of Tunisia

Francis Ghilès, enero de 2016, Notes Internacionals CIDOB 139

“Wealth in Tunisia is in the same hands as it was in 2010 – no redistribution has occurred. In 2011 there was a revolution in, not of the system” 

A Nobel for Tunisia

Francis Ghilès, 15 October 2015, Opinión CIDOB, 359

“Last year’s prize went to two children’s rights campaigners; this year it went to four people who united their efforts and helped save their country from tipping into civil war. These four Tunisians and the organizations they represent are more than worthy of this prestigious prize — their country, in a broader sense, deserves it, too”.

Après l’attentat de Sousse: Lettre ouverte aux Tunisiens et aux Européens

Francis Ghilès, 6th July 2015,Kapitalis

“Pourquoi ne pas reconnaitre que la Tunisie n’a pas les choses en main et qu’elle a besoin de toute l’aide sécuritaire que peuvent apporter l’Europe, les Etats Unis et l’Algérie? Si les Européens n’aident pas à sécuriser la frontière de la Tunisie avec la Libye, ils payeront beaucoup demain pour sécuriser celles de l’Europe” 

Tunisia's dangerous drift

Francis Ghilès, 1st July 2015,Open Democracy

“For many years before the surprisingly swift collapse of the regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, Tunisia was held up by the World Bank and senior European officials as the economic wonder of the Arab world. Here was proof, if that were needed, that Islam, equal rights for women and a model economy were compatible. No "Barcelona process" conference was complete without endless cheerleading of the Tunisian model” 

Five responses to the terrorist threat in the Maghreb

Eduard Soler i Lecha, 20th March 2015,Opinión CIDOB

It is no accident that Tunisia has been hit by terrorism, nor that the attackers directly targeted tourism and the parliament. This was an attack on democracy and on Tunisia's opening up to the outside world and it is easy to surmise that the terrorists will measure their success not only by the number of victims but by the damaging impact it may have on both the Tunisian transition and the country's fragile economy. Therefore the response to this particular attack and, more generally, to the growing terrorist threat that the countries of the Maghreb are suffering should be articulated not only with the aim of avoiding new attacks, but also to preserve what the terrorists wish to destroy. 

The World Bank Eats Humble Pie, but Will the West Really Help Tunisia?

Francis Ghilès, 7thOctober 2014,Opinió CIDOB

“The credibility of the West’s foreign policy, of the ethical and democratic principles it repeatedly proclaims, would be greatly strengthened were it to decide to support Tunisia’s economy to the tune of $5-6bn annually over the next few years with a mixture of loans, investment and debt write off”  

The economic challenge 

Economics Will Be the Test of Tunisian Exceptionalism, Francis Ghilès, Notes Internacionals CIDOB, February 2015 

Tunisia Should Escape from Becoming a Bazaar Economy, Francis Ghilès, Notes Internacionals CIDOB, December 2013 

Tunisia at risk, Francis Ghilès, BBC Viewpoint, 17th December 2012 

Tunisia’s economic fallout, Francis Ghilès, Al Jazeera.net, 5th July 2011  

The security threat 

Tunisia, bridging the gulf, Francis Ghilès, Open Democracy, 24th March 2015  

Domestic politics 

Tunisia, from hope to delivery, Francis Ghilès, Notes Internacionals CIDOB, March 2014 

Still a Long Way to Go for Tunisian Democracy, Francis Ghilès, Notes Internacionals CIDOB, May 2013 

Secular Social Movements Confront Radical Temptations, Francis Ghilès, Notes Internacionals CIDOB, November 2012 

Identity confrontations will not create new jobs in Tunisia, Francis Ghilès, Notes Internacionals CIDOB, March 2012 


Europe’s response  

Tunisia: The EU Must Put its Money Where its Mouth IsFrancis Ghilès, Opinión CIDOB, March 2015

Supporting the Transitions in North Africa: The Case for a Joined-Up Approach, Eduard Soler i Lecha, José Ignacio Torreblanca & Hélène Michou, Taylor&Francis Online, 30th May 2014  

Tunisia and the region 

Libya: intervention, indifference and interference, Eduard Soler i Lecha, Opinión CIDOB, 23rd February 2015 

Tunisia: the Arab exception's test, Francis Ghilès, Open Democracy, 21st December 2014 

Algeria’s discreet role in Tunisian Dialogue, Francis Ghilès, Opinión CIDOB, October 2013 

A New Deal for Arab People, Francis Ghilès, Insight Turkey, 18th January 2012