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Sophie-Alexandra Aiachi

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Tunisia One Year Later: More of the Same but Hope for Change

Posted: 10/23/2012 9:38 pm

The political situation in Tunisia a week before the deadline of Oct. 23 (one-year anniversary of the first free elections) scarcely lends itself to a formal review.

Truth is, things have greatly evolved over the past year. We remember the enthusiasm with which we went to vote. That enthusiasm is gone for good now. The Constitution has not been drafted, the date of the next election has not been set, and we continue to plod through the various crises agitating our society and an economy that does not stop sinking.

A country full of contradictions

The political situation evolves as well. The status of the various opposing forces of the time scarcely resembles today's reality.

My personal feeling is that the contradictions currently besetting Tunisia are surprising.

When we begin to take stock of the situation, we quickly realize the following: Ben Ali's party, the RCD, is now a safe bet, which ironically reassures the people. This is the first major contradiction of "post-revolutionary" Tunisia, proud of what she has done, but regretful of the hardships she must now endure.

This party, which is now returning under the spotlight, counts a large majority of former RCD affiliates among its members. Among them, none other than Nidaa Tounes, led by the now internationally famous Beji Caid el Sebsi.

He is the the man who held the country together during the transitional period. However, he seems unlikely to run in the forthcoming election due to his age. Nevertheless, he embodies his party majestically, which in turn, relies almost entirely on his leadership.

A nice surprise

The other parties we followed in previous elections have also developed. For example, the Progressive Democratic Party (which has managed to reestablish itself despite its "defeat" in the last elections) is now known as Al Joumhouri after merging with two other parties.

Despite throwing itself back into the race with many flaws, this party is, nevertheless, credible. I was able to attend its main meeting to which all of the great democratic and progressive leaders were invited: Nidaa Tounes and El Massar. At the very least, it can be said that this gathering was a great success. Perhaps difficult to believe for a party that had such feeble influence and sometimes even less than that.

A provisional government conspicuous for its incompetence

I however think that the other parties who won the elections: CPR and Ettakatol, who allied themselves with Ennahda to form the provisional government in place today, have lost everything. Even as they quench their thirst for power, even as they galvanize their vast bases, their credibility disappears. They seem to embody the greatest betrayal and political mistake of the history of "post-revolutionary" Tunisia.

That being said, Ennahda (the Islamist party currently in power) is not far behind. I hate seeing the daily surprises and twists it unveils to its country and society already so traumatized by its antics. Only to mention a few: he rape of a young woman by two policemen who can't obtain justice, or the video of Rashid al-Ghannushi (leader of Ennahda) in which he explicitly explains how Sharia law will gradually be implemented in Tunisia.

Hope is allowed

I do not think I am alone in finding that the parties in power have had a year to show what they are capable of and their result is merely incompetence. Even if I learned today that the Troika (Ettakatol-Ennahda-CPR) had lost, I cannot necessarily affirm that the others have won.

 
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