Why did so many Tunisians reject the democracy that the Arab Spring brought about?
Why did so many Tunisians reject the democracy that the Arab Spring brought about?

Tunisia: Nori Saif, sitting on a bench in a downtown area, dismissed allegations of youth trafficking by Tunisians three days before Tunisians voted on a new constitution her president had promised. will lead them to prosperity.

He claimed that the least expensive trip would cost him about $1,200. A better guarantee than a smuggler can set you back over $3,000.

How about vote?

He said, "I learned about it only yesterday. We are disappointed. There will be no change.

Eleven years earlier, on this same street in Tunis, many citizens gathered to demand the resignation of the autocratic Zein al-Abidin Ben Ali. It was successful. Ben Ali left the country and died while abroad. Tunisia, the only Arab Spring country that survived, began the long process of transforming itself into a democracy.

Saif, 27, who recently left his home in a small town to the south of the capital, is currently camping out in the open looking for some kind of work to help pay for his impending move to Europe. happened. The hope that gave birth to the Arab Spring has been extinguished, just as it had for many other young Tunisians of his generation. He sees only one way out of the country because he is fed up with ineffective politicians and a worsening economic crisis.

While others in Tunisia have relied on a leader who promises to improve his life if he supports his bid for more power,

The collective optimism of 2011, when young people returned to the country to support the Tunisian revolution, has been replaced by a sense of despair. Their collective rejection of optimism for a better future has spread like wildfire in the Arab world because of how contagious it is.

Mohamed Abbou, a lawyer and politician jailed under the Ben Ali regime, claimed that "in places where there are dictators, people saw a small country that made its revolution and succeeded."

As a nation that welcomed Islamic political parties, including the liberal Ennahda, which had long been members of coalition governments, Tunisia set an example. While other nations in the region returned to autocracy or war, Tunisia drafted a new constitution and achieved many freedoms that activists in other countries envied.

However, the country's young and precarious democracy weakened over time. Legislators were divided by political strife and unable to resolve economic crises or fulfill promises of revolution.

Following this, the Tunisians elected Kais Saied as their president in 2019. His supporters saw him as the opponent of the political elite – a man with an impeccable record who would root out corruption and bring Tunisia closer to its democratic ideals. He was a little-known candidate who taught law at the University of Tunis. It soon became clear that he had little patience for the country's developing democratic system.

Saeed suspended parliament and removed his own prime minister last summer due to a deteriorating economic situation, ongoing disputes with lawmakers and a significant coronavirus outbreak. He described it as an opportunity to root out corruption, which he claimed was the root of the impasse. Even his detractors called it a coup, but many of his supporters stood by him. He vowed that the only way to heal the country was to seize total power.

But as he curtailed the independence of the judiciary, dissolved the legislature, and created a controversial new constitution giving the president even more authority, even his early supporters recognized his growing grip on power. recognized. Tunisia's democracy came to be seen as a threat.

Abbou, who had supported Syed's decision to suspend parliament last summer but now strongly opposed it, claimed Tunisia was "a source of inspiration that was attacked by a corrupt and then a lunatic."

Like many other political analysts in Tunisia, he claims that Said benefited from the country's economic unrest. According to Abbu, he is promoting a new, prosperous Tunisia. But what he is actually advocating is the gradual dismantling of the country's democracy in favor of a one-man system of governance.

Anour Ben Kadour, a prominent member of the powerful Tunisian General Labor Union, claimed that Said succeeded in overturning the established order by giving the youth a false set of solutions.

According to Ben Caddour, the youth waited for ten years and saw nothing. "Everyone is ready to go."

"We cannot use populism to tell everyone that we will fix the problems tomorrow," he said.

According to NYU Abu Dhabi Middle East politics professor Monica Marx, it is not that Syed's supporters were against democracy. He only believed that he was capable of solving the permanent issues of the nation.

He did not enter the street [last summer] with the intention of destroying democracy. He said that he believed Saied can fulfil those dreams. Others who are upset about the political gridlock now admit that stability rather than democracy is their top priority.

Many Tunisians blame the Islamist Ennahda party for the nation's political setbacks, but party officials claim that these accusations are scapegoating attempts.

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