Tunisian President Kais Saied on January 20 2020 designated Elyes Fakhfakh as prime minister, The choice of Fakhfakh, 48, underscores the economic priorities following a decade of low growth, high public debt and declining services since the 2011 revolution that introduced democracy.
[November 13 2019 Ennahda party Ghannouchi Tunisia’s speaker ]
Rached Ghannouchi, 78, leader of the moderate Islamist Ennahda party, is elected Tunisia’s parliament speaker after the rival Heart of Tunisia party backed him. It is his first official post since he returned to Tunisia from exile in London after the 2011 revolution.
[November 4 2019 Kais Saied wins presidency ]
Two weeks after Kais Saied was elected the new president of the North African country. Defense Minister Abdelkarim Zbidi and Foreign Minister Khemaies Jhinaoui were dismissed by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed. Economic Diplomacy Minister Hatem Ferjani was also fired.
[October 23 2019]
Even with a large mandate, the new president has less direct control of policy than the prime minister and both will quickly face a series of tough challenges including high unemployment rates and fighting corruption. Tunisia has a deeply fragmented legislature in which the largest party, the moderate Islamist Ennahda, has only 52 of the 219 seats.
[October 18 2019]
Conservative law professor Kais Saied has overwhelmingly won the North African country’s presidential election
[ Parliamentary elections ]
The prime minister will be picked by the parliament that was elected last Sunday. Although the president has fewer powers than a prime minister the post is still Tunisia’s most senior directly elected official with wide political influence.
The Ennahda party seemed set to face massive loses but stay the strongest party in Tunisia after the October 6 2019 vote, according to exit polls. It follows the first round of a presidential election that garnered much greater public attention. The presidential vote ended inconclusively, forcing a runoff on October 13.
[September 19 2019 ]
A Tunisian court has turned down a request to release jailed media mogul Nabil Karoui, who, along with academic Kais Saied, has advanced to a runoff in Tunisia’s presidential election. “The judge has refused to give a ruling, saying it was not in his jurisdiction,” “We will appeal,” he added. The court did not respond to requests for confirmation.
[September 17 2019]
Official results in Tunisia’s presidential election confirmed a duel in the second round of voting between law professor Kais Saied and imprisoned media mogul Nabil Karoui.
[September 16 2019]
In July 2019, Tunisia’s first democratically elected president, Beji Caid Essebsi, died, pushing the presidential elections up from November to September. Kais Said and Nabil Karoui say exit polls show they’ve made it to runoff, with preliminary results due on Tuesday. Nabil Karoui presents himself as a champion of the poor and a scourge of government, while his critics describe him as a populist. Kais Saied described his lead as “like a new revolution” in a radio interview, a reference to Tunisia’s 2011 uprising that brought in democracy and set off the Arab Spring revolts elsewhere. Also in the first round was Abdelfattah Mourou, heading a first-time bid for Islamist-inspired party Ennahdha.
[July 3 2019 Tunis: bombs: Body parts were strewn ]
Aymen Smiri died when explosives he was carrying detonated and killed on July 1 2019,
Interior Ministry spokesman Sofiene Zaag told Tunisian radio that police had been hunting for the 23-year-old Smiri, who he described as the “brain” behind the June 27 attacks.
The bombings killed a police officer and injured eight people. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility
[June 27 2019]
Two suicide blasts rocked the Tunisian capital on June 27 2019 killing at least one police officer and wounding several people.
The first blast involved a suicide bomber who targeted a police patrol on Tunis’ central Charles de Gaulle street, not far from the French embassy.
One police officer was killed, while another was injured, according to the interior ministry. Three civilians were also wounded.
Body parts were strewn on the road around the police car,
[May 2 2019 Square one: Tunisia in trouble ]
TUNIS (Reuters) – Fuel distribution workers in Tunisia began a three-day strike on May 2 2019 to demand higher wages, leading to long queues and empty pumps at petrol stations across the North African nation. Tunisians have complained about a decline of state services since Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali was overthrown in 2011. The uprising to topple the autocrat heralded a democratic transition but the associated turmoil also led to an economic crisis.
The government is facing rising public demands for more pay as price rise, with inflation at about 7 percent. It is also contending with pressure from international lenders to cut the public wage bill and other spending to shore up state finances. “All services have gone down, we have become like a country where there is a war – no fuel, no medicines, no milk.”
Tunisia raised the minimum wage for industrial and farm workers, as well as pensions for hundreds of thousands of private-sector retirees, by 6.5 percent on May 1 2019, a move aimed at defusing discontent about economic hardship.
Saber Hamrouni met Zine El Abidine Ben Ali at his residence in Jeddah on two occasions in January and April 2018. “Ben Ali informed me that he made a mistake in 2011, when the Tunisian revolution broke out. This was not being honest with the Tunisian people about his relatives’ crimes. He wished he had been honest with the Tunisian people since his first speech rather than the third,” claimed Saber Hamrouni.
There is now a danger that the second wave of popular protest in the region may also be heavily influenced by external players.
Factors that are shaping the contemporary Middle East include the growing role of the Saudis who, along with their Gulf allies, are waging a multi-front battle for influence against Qatar and especially Turkey. This regional rivalry is to a large extent both facilitated and explained by the notable absence of the US as a serious diplomatic actor
The Saudis have to a considerable extent seized and held the diplomatic initiative.
They and the UAE have pitched in with financial aid, and Riyadh’s ally, Egypt, has played a role in deploying its diplomatic muscle at the African Union.
While the Saudis appear to be backing the country’s generals, Turkey and Qatar are more closely aligned with Islamists.
It should be clearly stated that none of these external parties are much interested in the voices of popular protest on the ground. .
What you have are effectively two “brands” of authoritarianism which are attempting to push their supporters into positions where they can influence the future. Jonathan Marcus excerpt