The Arab Spring and its Aftermath

The Arab Spring

The self-immolation of a young greengrocer in the provincial town of Sidi Bouzid on December 17th, 2010 sparked a nationwide wave of protests against the authoritarian regime of Ben Ali. The protests escalated when security forces used violence against the demonstrators, killing scores of people. On 14.1.2011 President fled Ben Ali to Saudi Arabia into exile.

Fouad Mebazaa (* 1933) became the interim head of state. After continuing unrest with bloody mass demonstrations, Mohammed Ghannouchi (* 1941), head of the interim government and, under Ben Ali, prime minister since 1999, resigned on February 27, 2011. He was succeeded by B. Essebsi, who announced elections for a constituent assembly. The former state party RCD was dissolved on March 9, 2011.

After the end of the so-called “Jasmine Revolution”, which became the model for several popular uprisings in other Arab countries ( Arab Spring ), the election campaign revolved primarily around the question of what role religion should play in the previously secular state. Elections to the constituent assembly took place on October 23, 2011, from which the moderate Islamist En-Nahda emerged as the strongest political force (89 out of 217 seats). In mid-November 2011, En-Nahda, CPR and the social democratic Forum Démocratique pour le Travail et la Liberté (FDTL, also Ettakatol) agreed on the formation of a coalition and on M. Marzouki as transitional president, who was elected by the constituent assembly on December 12, 2011 with 153 of 202 votes cast. The General Secretary of En-Nahda, Hamadi Jebali (* 1949), was appointed as the new head of government. On June 13, 2012, a military tribunal in Tunis sentenced former President Ben Ali to a 20-year prison term for inciting unrest, murder and looting. On July 19, 2012, another military court sentenced Ben Ali to life imprisonment in absentia. The court found it proven that the ruler, who fled into exile in Saudi Arabia, was responsible for the deaths of 43 demonstrators during the revolution.

According to usprivateschoolsfinder, domestic politics in 2012/13 was determined by the struggle of Islamic and secular forces to draft a new constitution. En-Nahda’s efforts to devalue women’s rights sparked demonstrations in Tunis in August 2012. The liberal opposition also accused the government of being too lenient towards the activities of Islamic extremists. On February 6, 2013, the left opposition politician Chokri Belaïd ( * 1964 ) was shot in front of his house in Tunis. The act sparked anti-government demonstrations across the country. Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced his resignation on February 19, 2013 after he had failed to form a new government. The previous Minister of the Interior Ali Laarayedh ( * 1955 ) formed a new government made up of members of the previous coalition and non-party experts. This cabinet was approved by the constituent assembly on March 13, 2013. On July 25, 2013, another left-secular politician, Mohammed Brahmi (* 1955), fell victim to an attack. Even after this murder there were demonstrations against the government and especially against the En-Nahda, who were blamed for the attack. The trade unions called for a general strike on July 26, 2013.

Since the end of July 2013, v. a. Skirmishes between the security forces and the Ansar-al-Sharia group attributed to Salafists in the border area with Algeria. In view of the internal political tensions, En-Nahda agreed with various social groups on October 6, 2013 to form an expert government under an independent head of government. The project initially failed due to the dispute over the occupation of the prime ministerial office.

On 9 January 2014, the previous Minister of Industry, Mehdi Jomaâ (* 1962), who was not party to the party, was finallyappointed as the new Prime Minister. The constituent assembly adopted the new constitution on January 26, 2014 with the required two-thirds majority. On this basis, parliamentary elections took place on October 26, 2014, in which the secular party Nidaa Tounes became the strongest political force with 86 seats. The En-Nahda, which still had 89 seats in the constituent assembly, only won 69 seats. The Union Patriotique Libre had 16 seats and the left-wing Front Populaire 15 seats. In the first round of the presidential elections on November 23, 2014, none of the candidates was able to win the required absolute majority of the votes. In the run-off election that was required on December 21, 2014, Essebsi stood up as Nidaa Tounes’ candidate against the interim president Marzouki through. Essebsi was sworn in as president on December 31, 2014. He commissioned the non-party politician Habib Essid (* 1949) to form a government. Parliament confirmed the cabinet it had formed in a vote of confidence on February 5, 2015. In addition to politicians from the secular parties Nidaa Tounes, Union Patriotique Libre and Afek Tounes, Essid had also given the En-Nahda a ministerial office in order to involve the moderate Islamist forces in government work. In addition, ministerial offices went to non-party experts.

The Arab Spring