Tunisia Tests the Water of Democracy

This is a piece from the Middle East Institute. Here, author Yasmine Ryan discusses the implications of democracy for Tunisia, and states, “In many respects, Tunisia is the ideal country to give democracy a “test run” in the region. The North African country has neither the geostrategic importance of Egypt, nor the enormous petroleum riches of Libya, and a population of just ten million people.” Ryan discusses the events leading up to the revolution in Tunisia, starting with Mohammad Bouazizi, the man who lit himself on fire after his fruit and vegetable cart had been confiscated. Ryan’s paper also discusses briefly the political parties in Tunisia that were running during the election and states that there were around 111 parties running. In a previous post I had said that I believed Ennahda had won because they were the only political party (even though they were illegal under Ben Ali) that the people of Tunisia were familiar with. All of the other new parties sprung up after the revolution so people were not familiar with them. Ryan says something very similar, ” Opinion poll after opinion poll has shown that Tunisians have never heard of most of the parties and politicians. More than half of voters remain undecided. This is hardly surprising in a country where the president was the only politician to have a public profile. Tunisians have had just a few short months to learn what democracy means.” Like many other article, Ryan discusses the fears that people have about Ennahda winning the elections, particularly those of women’s rights. But Ghannouchi has said that he does not plan on diminishing the rights of women, and that his party believes in equal rights for both men and women. This article is helpful in giving a BRIEF background on the revolution and the elections that followed.

Click here to read it!


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