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Thursday 17 June 2021
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Tunisia: From the blunder of Hamadi Jebali to the explosion of social movements

To the economic turmoil and social movements it is facing, Tunisia adds what amounts to a political crisis as negotiations to form a Government stemming from the Constituent Assembly drag on, establishing an air of the “Fourth Republic.”

This overview of the situation nourishes the uniqueness of dealing with this genuine reality in Tunisia, as it unfolds even before the formation of a Government that is intended to rule the country under the banner of stability, transparency and consensus.

What is happening on the Tunisian political scene leads observers and analysts, and even the common people, to say that the country is near the bottom, economically, socially and politically, as it was thought that Tunisia, after the October 23 elections whose results were deemed transparent and equitable, would finally see the end of the tunnel.

However, it is increasingly clear that this is not the case, and that this might be for a long time, since the political class born of the Constituent Assembly election is still seeking its way, not knowing where to go, either because of inexperience or as a result of a conflict of ambitions between the major parties that won the October 23 elections.

What adds to the deleterious effect of this atmosphere is the blunder made by the future Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, speaking of the “sixthth Caliphate.” This was enough to arouse an outrage and turmoil that the country does not need.

In any case, this “blunder,” quickly cast a shadow over the fragile emerging consensus as consultations are in progress between the Troika: Ennahdha, CPR and Ettakatol, resulting in the withdrawal of Mustapha Ben Jaafar’s party from the three committees to develop the political and economic platform of the coalition.

In doing so, we must perceive, through this episode, a taste of what awaits the Tunisians under a parliamentary system with a constituent assembly that has a heterogeneous composition.

It is obvious that the political tumult is associated with a social situation marked by an explosion of strikes, sit-ins and other movements staged for reasons that are at some point futile, and whose consequences are all to be devastating.

These strikes have been planned for a long time, says the trade union. But this does not prevent us from wondering if is it really the appropriate time to push further the country’s economy already limping as a result of previous social unrest, and which is suffering from the crisis shaking the European Union countries, major economic and trading partners of Tunisia.

This compound, or rather explosive political, economic and social cocktail would only bring about an explosive situation that heralds additional setbacks and torment for not only companies which are deeply anxious to see social peace finally be established in order to function, but also foreign investors who see nothing good coming in the wake of the October 23 elections, and again and especially the hundreds of thousands of young Tunisians who are waiting to find a job that is becoming even more rare because of a political and social situation less conducive to growth.

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