Late on Sunday 25 July 2021, the 64th anniversary of the proclamation of the Tunisian Republic, the Tunisian president, Kais Saied declared he will assume the executive power in country, dismissing the government of the Prime Minster Hichem Mechichi and suspending the parliament.
He also declared the suspension of the legal immunity of parliament members and taking control of the general prosecutor’s office. These moves have been in response to general public dissatisfaction over the nation’s economic and social turmoil. The President’s supporters celebrated the moves while his opponents in parliament accused him of staging a coup. The street and political parties are divided between those taking to the streets in opposition and in celebration.
Struggle over powers and mandates has been characteristic of the Tunisian political system over the past decade. Since the eruption of the Tunisian revolution in 2011, significant political progress towards democracy has been achieved. However, over the past year, Tunisia has witnessed disagreements over cabinet reshuffles and control of the security forces, complicating the efforts to handle a recent fierce COVID-19 wave, structural economic hardship and a looming fiscal crisis. Are the shaky political progress and the sluggish economic progress a threat to the nascent democratic transition in Tunisia? Or are the ongoing developments part of Tunisia’s democratization process?
The webinar will explore the factors that paved the way to the dramatic moment of the evening of 25 July 2021, assess the options for Tunisia’s democratic transition, and why this transition is still relevant in the first place.
The event will be held on the record and livestreamed on the MENA Programme Facebook page.
Dr Laryssa Chomiak, Associate Fellow, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House
Fadil Aliriza, Editor In Chief, Meshkal
Prof Daniel Brumberg, Director of Democracy and Governance Studies, Georgetown University; Non-resident Senior Fellow, Arab Center Washington DC
Aymen Bessalah, Advocacy and Policy Analyst, Al Bawsala
Moderator: Dr Lina Khatib, Director, Middle East and North Africa Programme, Chatham House