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The Tunisian transition: the evolving face of the second republic

El Issawi, Fatima (2012) The Tunisian transition: the evolving face of the second republic. In: Kitchen, Nicholas, (ed.) After the Arab Spring: Power Shift in the Middle East? IDEAS reports - special reports. LSE IDEAS, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, UK, pp. 18-22.

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Identification Number: SR011


The swift victory of moderate Islamists at the first free elections in the historically secular Tunisia left a bitter taste for the losers. After three interim governments and amid a vast ongoing legal and institutional reform process, Tunisia can be considered as a positive example of a non-violent and functional transitional phase from dictatorship towards democracy. Although peaceful, the Tunisian transition is characterised by a fierce debate between the secular (‘leftist’ to its opponents) and the religious camps (satirically dubbed the Long Bearded by the secular discourse). This unfolding confrontation forms the backdrop to the process of drafting a new constitution, amid anxiety surrounding the place of Islam in the new political system. However, fears of the resurrection of a new theocratic dictatorship are mitigated by a dynamic civil society in which voices that were silenced or misused by the former regime of Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali are becoming distinctly vocal. Yet despite the role of religion in society dominating discussion both in Tunisia and internationally, for all sides in the debate it will be the economic recovery that forms the major challenge of the post-Ben Ali era.

Item Type: Book Section
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2012 The Author
Divisions: IGA: LSE IDEAS
Subjects: D History General and Old World > DS Asia
J Political Science > JQ Political institutions Asia
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 04 May 2012 09:08
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 09:46

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