President Kais Saied has initiated a constitutional referendum in Tunisia. This could have serious implications for a country once championed as the singular Arab democracy.
One year after President Kais Saied sacked the prime minister, dismissed the government, and froze parliament, Tunisia remains precariously stalled at the political crossroads. Said’s actions, which included vastly expanding his presidential powers via a series of presidential decrees, constitute a power grab that has essentially suspended the 2014 Constitution. A recent referendum on a new constitution has produced more questions than answers about the prospects of democracy in Tunisia, once heralded as the great Arab democratic “exception.” To understand the country’s current predicament, we need to understand Tunisia’s post-independence history as well as its unique political pathway following the seismic events of January 2011 and “the Arab Spring.”
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