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Tunisia

Yearbook 1997

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 tourism.

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.

1997 Tunisia

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.

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