Politics. What a dirty word in today’s vernacular. In Tunisia it is no different. Tunisia’s government is most commonly known as a Parliamentary Republic system. Coupled with this is also has a strong presidential system which can make it hard to dispose or oust leaders who the people have no confidence in.
This article by the BBC goes over some very basic history of the politics of Tunisia, up the present day struggles that the country faces. As discussed in the first entry about Tunisia, is has a wide and varied history. The Ottoman Turks, the Arabs, and the Romans all had their time in Tunisia. It was ultimately the French who gained and kept control of the country until the 1950’s. A peaceful withdrawal by the French in 1956, lead to Habib Bourguiba leading the country for three decades. During this time Habib pushed forward secular ideas, many which still remain to this day. It is a time period also known for its advancement of the women of Tunisia. Ben Ali disposed Habib in 1987, but having him declared unfit to rule. He the gained control of the country for himself until 2011. The Jasmine Spring of Tunisia is what lead to Ben Ali’s ousting as president of the country. The current President is Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi and his Prime Minister is Youssef Chahed. As this article points out, it is interesting to note that the current president was actually involved in Ben Ali’s government. This had lead some people to wonder if this leader is just a new incarnation of the old.
This is a very interesting and somewhat distressing article about the young people of Tunisia’s involvement in politics. As the article points out 60% of Tunisia’s population are considered youth. They are the ones being most affected by the lack of jobs or advancement in career fields. They were also the sector that lead to the ousting of Ben Ali. After the revolution that they helped inspire, they are shying away from politics. Many prefer to say they would rather be involved in social or civil groups, rather than formal government. The author of the article makes an interesting point about how those young people who eschew traditional politics and become even disillusioned by the lack of big change they hoped to see are more susceptible to being radicalized, than those fighting the system from within. The author even points out the statistic that between 6,000-7,000 Tunisian’s are fighters for ISIS, making them one of the biggest suppliers of fighters for the cause. The Tunisian government is attempting to curb the trend of the youth disengaging by holding municipal elections at the end of 2017.
This article is distressing to me because these young people fought for change, and now is when the hard work to ensure the change they fought for is going to be enacted. Instead the majority of the youth that fought for this change is disengaging or deciding it is easier to protest and demonstrate, rather than work with the transitional government. To me this signals a weaker transitional government and one more likely to have a revolution again in the future when those who fought for this change are not happy with it. This also signals a further instability in the region, and with Libya next door, this country needs to be careful and cautious to make sure they do not end up in the same situation as its neighbor.