October 02, 2017

Tunisia Passes Controversial Law, Undermining Democratic Transition

By Kate Bateman

Tunisia’s parliament recently passed a controversial law effectively granting amnesty to public officials involved in corruption under the Bourguiba and Ben Ali dictatorships from 1955 through 2010. The law thus ensures impunity for the very system of government corruption that the Tunisian people sought to upend in their revolution of 2010 to 2011.

As a relatively stable, democratic country in a tumultuous region, Tunisia is critical to the United States’ efforts in North Africa to counter ISIS, reduce drug smuggling and address migrant issues. A successful and peaceful democratic transition in Tunisia would serve as a model not just in the Arab world, but for any country emerging from dictatorship. Yet many ordinary Tunisians are losing faith that the revolution can deliver on its promises of economic justice. Some Tunisians voice a reluctant nostalgia for the Ben Ali regime–mainly in response to the ailing economy and a sense of greater insecurity due to the terrorist threat.

Read the full op-ed in Lawfare.

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