Tunisia: a young democracy in peril

Tunisian President Kais Saied is consolidating his authoritarian rule, while Europe stands idly by and misses opportunities to exert influence. Analysis by Isabelle Werenfels

By Isabelle Werenfels

In the space of just nine months, Tunisia’s President Kais Saied has centralised power and dismantled the institutions established by the young democracy since the revo­lu­tion of 2011. His new constitution establishing a "New Republic" will be put to a refer­endum on 25 July 2022.

Saied’s plans have divided the nation, with growing resistance from political and civil society actors demanding the return to an inclusive and demo­cratic process.

At the same time, the country is moving closer to default. Tunisia’s Euro­pean partners have invested heavily in democratisation and view the autocratic shift with concern. But they have failed to take meaningful action.

With each new step taken by Saied, the path becomes harder to reverse. In the interests of Tunisia’s stability, Europe should move decisively and employ the financial and diplomatic leverage it has due to Tunisia’s economic crisis.

Read more at swp-berlin.org: "No time to lose as Tunisia’s president consolidates authoritarian turn"