Tunisia. According to
Countryaah, economic growth was estimated to be 5.6% for
1997, and the government set a target of reaching an average
of 6% of GDP per year over the next ten years. Growth
occurred mainly in priority areas such as manufacturing and
Despite good economic prospects, Tunisia remains a
country where opposition is hard to come by. In fact, the
Democratic Constitutional Assembly, the Rassemblement
Constitutionnel Démocratique (RCD), has in practice such a
pronounced monopoly of power that the image of democratic
pluralism must be upheld by quoting parliamentary seats for
the opposition. In November, President Zayn al-Abidin Ben
Ali celebrated his ten years in power promising an amendment
to the electoral law so that the opposition can win at least
20% of seats in parliament and municipal assemblies.
The death of two Islamist politicians in prison raised
questions about the treatment of oppositionists. In May,
Sheikh Mabrouk Zren, one of the founders of the banned
Paternity Party, Hezb an-Nahda passed away. In July, Ridha
Khemeri died after a 40-day hunger strike in protest of his
arrest. He had been released in January after 7.5 years in
prison but was immediately arrested again.
In July, Parliament passed strict emergency legislation
on terror, giving police and security forces broad powers
and, among other things, possibility of detaining suspects
in isolation for up to 15 days. In the same month, the UN
Working Group on Mercenaries visited the country and
concluded that approx. 6,000 Tunisians had traveled out of
the country to join criminal organizations in Mali, Syria,
Iraq and Libya. The working group called on the government
to stop this traffic. The government subsequently issued a
decree requiring young people under 35 to obtain their
father's written approval if they would travel to Algeria,
Morocco, Libya or Turkey.
In November, a suicide bomber attacked a bus, killing 12
soldiers from the presidential guard. The numerous attacks
during the year showed that although Tunisia was politically
a success story after the Arab Spring, it was hit by the
chaos the West had created in Libya in 2011.
In October 2015, Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet was
awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. The quartet was formed in
2013 as a coalition of trade unions, human rights
organizations and other NGOs aimed at promoting peace,
democracy and human rights.
The government announced in February 2016 that the
construction of a security wall against the border with
Libya was complete. The wall was supposed to prevent IS
penetration into the country. It was not good, however. In
March, IS attacked a military depot and police station in
Ben Guerdane in the southern part of the country. 68 were
killed, including 7 civilians.
The Truth and Dignity Commission had been set up to
investigate violations of political, economic, social and
other human rights committed during the period 1955-2013. In
June, it announced that it had received 62,000 abuse
complaints during that period. Its first public hearing took
place in November.
Prime Minister Essid lost a vote of confidence in
Parliament in July 2016 by 3 against 118. A few days later,
Youssef Chahed took over the post. At the end of the month,
the new government received 167 votes out of the 194 in
parliament by a vote of confidence.
Under the state of emergency, security forces conducted
thousands of arrests and house searches without a warrant.
The attacks on the country's tourism cost were expensive
in the absence of tourism revenue, which further adversely
affected the economy. A large number of protests and
demonstrations against unemployment were carried out, and
the authorities used the state of emergency to ban others.
In July 2017, Tunisia became the first Arab country to
commit domestic violence against women. At the same time,
the section of the rape law that allowed the perpetrator to
avoid punishment by marrying the victim was removed.