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27. Tunisia (1956-present)

Pre-Crisis Phase (March 20, 1956-July 18, 1961):  Tunisia formally achieved its independence from France on March 20, 1956.  Tunisia had been a colony of France since 1881.  Elections were held on March 25, 1956, and the National Union alliance, including the New Constitutional Liberal Party (Nouveau Parti Libéral Constitutionnel – NPLC), won 98 out of 98 seats in the Constituent Assembly.  The NPLC was commonly known as Neo Destour (“new constitution”).  The Constituent Assembly convened on April 8, 1956.  King Muhammad VIII al-Amin dismissed Prime Minister Tahar Ben Ammar, and he appointed Habib Bourguiba of the NPLC as the new prime minister.  Mekki Ben Azzouz, leader of the Tunisian Nationalist Party (Parti Nationaliste Tunisien – PNT), was assassinated in Tunis on May 20, 1956.  The Constituent Assembly deposed King Muhammad VIII al-Amin and proclaimed the Republic of Tunisia on July 25, 1957.  The Constituent Assembly elected Habib Bourguiba as president.  President Habib Bourguiba signed a new constitution on June 1, 1959.  Legislative elections were held on November 8, 1959, and the NPLC won 90 out of 90 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Habib Bourguiba was re-elected without opposition on November 8, 1959.

Crisis Phase (July 19, 1961-February 3, 1984):  On July 19, 1961, Tunisian military forces began a blockade of the French naval base near the town of Bizerte.  Some 800 French paratroopers were deployed at the naval base.  Tunisian and French government troops clashed for several days until French troops captured the city of Bizerte on July 23, 1961, resulting in the deaths of more than 600 Tunisian soldiers and civilians, as well as 24 French government soldiers.  Former King Muhammad VIII al-Amin died in Tunis on September 30, 1962.  The government uncovered a plot to assassinate President Habib Bourguiba on December 19, 1962, and 25 military officers and civilians were arrested for their involvement in the assassination plot. The government banned the Communist Party of Tunisia (Parti Communiste des Ouvriers Tunisiens – PCOT) on January 8, 1963.  On January 24, 1963, the government executed ten individuals for their involvement in the assassination plot.   The French government transferred control of the Bizerte naval base to the Tunisian government on October 15, 1963.  The NPLC was renamed the Socialist Destourian Party (Parti Socialiste Destourien – PSD) on October 22, 1964.  Legislative elections were held on November 8, 1964, and the PSD won 101 out of 101 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Habib Bourguiba was re-elected with 96 percent of the vote on November 8, 1964.  Twelve individuals were killed in violence in Ouerdanin in January 1969.  Ahmed Ben Salah was dismissed as Minister for Planning and Minister of Finance in September 1969.  President Habib Bourguiba announced the end of the “socialist experiment” on September 22, 1969.  Legislative elections were held on November 2, 1969, and the PSD won 101 out of 101 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Habib Bourguiba was re-elected on November 2, 1969.  President Habib Bourguiba appointed Bahi Ladgham of the PSD as prime minister on November 6, 1969.  In May 1970, Ahmed Ben Salah was convicted of treason and sentenced to ten years of hard labor.  On February 4, 1973, Ahmed Ben Salah escaped from prison and fled to Algeria, and later went into exile in Europe.  Ahmed Ben Salah founded the Popular Unity Movement (Mouvement d’Unité  Populaire – MUP) in May 1973.  Legislative elections were held on November 3, 1974, and the PSD won 112 out of 112 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Habib Bourguiba was re-elected without opposition on November 3, 1974.  The Chamber of Deputies proclaimed Habib Bourguiba as president-for-life in 1975.  Ahmed Mestiri was expelled from the PSD in 1975.  In 1977, thirty-three members of the MUP were arrested and charged with threatening state security and defaming the president.  Government police and union workers clashed during a general strike in Tunis on January 26-28, 1978, resulting in the deaths of more than 100 individuals. The government declared a state-of-emergency on January 26, 1978.  Habib Achour, leader of the General Union of Tunisian Workers (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail – UGTT), was arrested and sentenced to prison on January 28, 1978.  The government lifted the state-of-emergency on February 25, 1978.  The Movement of Socialist Democrats (Mouvement des Démocrates Socialistes – MDS) was established by Ahmed Mestiri and other former members of the PSD on June 10, 1978.  President Habib Bourguiba released Habib Achour from prison on August 3, 1979.  Legislative elections were held on November 3, 1979, and the PSD won 121 out of 121 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Habib Bourguiba appointed Hedi Nouira as prime minister on November 7, 1979.  Twenty-nine members of the Tunisian Armed Resistance (Résistance Armée Tunisienne – RAT) attacked the town of Gafsa on January 26-27, 1980, resulting in the deaths of 48 individuals.  The Tunisian government accused Libya of training the rebels, and appealed for diplomatic, economic, and military assistance from Western and Arab countries.  The French government provided military assistance (military transport planes and military advisors) in support of the government beginning on January 28, 1980, and deployed eight warships off the Libyan/Tunisian coast on January 30, 1980.  The Tunisian government expelled the Libyan ambassador from the country on January 30, 1980.  On January 31, 1980, U.S. Defense Secretary Harold Brown announced that he would expedite the delivery of armored vehicles to Tunisia, and the armored vehicles were delivered on February 7, 1980.  The U.S. government provided some $300 million in military assistance to the Tunisian government from 1980 to 1983, and provided $70 million each year after 1983.  The French government withdrew its military advisors from the country on February 13, 1980.  On April 17, 1980, the government executed thirteen individuals for their involvement in the Gafsa attack.  Mohamed Mzali formed a government as prime minister on April 24, 1980.  In April 1981, President Habib Bourguiba announced that opposition political parties would be permitted to participate in the upcoming legislative elections.  The Movement of Islamic Tendency (Mouvement de la Tendance Islamique – MTI) was established in 1981, and the PCOT was legalized as an opposition political party on July 18, 1981.  Bechir Essid founded the Arab National Rally (ANR) on May 15, 1981, but the organization was not recognized by the government as a legal political party.  The  Legislative elections were held on November 1, 1981, and the PSD-led National Front alliance won 136 out of 136 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  The MDS and the Popular Unity Party (Parti de l’Unité Populaire – PUP) were legally recognized by the government on November 19, 1983.  The government ended subsidies for wheat and other grain products on December 29, 1984, resulting in the rise in the price of bread and flour two days later.  Bread riots broke out in Douz, Gafsa, Kasserine, Gabès, Tunis, and other cities.  On January 3, 1984, President Habib Bourguiba declared a state-of-emergency and nationwide curfew as a result of the bread riots in several cities.  The government arrested supporters of the MTI suspected of involvement in the bread riots.  Government troops had largely suppressed the riots by January 6, 1984.  The same day, President Habib Bourguiba announced that the increase in the price of bread and flour had been rescinded.  The Tunisian Human Rights Defense League (Ligue Tunisienne des Droits de l’Homme – LTDH) estimated that 110 individuals died as a result of the bread riots.  President Habib Bourguiba lifted the state-of-emergency on February 3, 1984.  More than 900 individuals died as a result of political violence in Tunisia between July 1961 and February 1984.

Post-Crisis Phase (February 4, 1984-January 7, 2011):  President Habib Bourguiba dismissed Prime Minister Mohamed Mzali on July 8, 1986, and appointed Rachid Sfar as prime minister on July 9, 1986.  Legislative elections were held on November 2, 1986, and the Patriotic Union alliance, including the PSD, won 125 out of 125 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  Opposition political parties boycotted the legislative elections.  President Bourguiba appointed General Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali as prime minister on October 2, 1987.  President Habib Bourguiba was declared mentally unfit to govern on November 7, 1987, and Prime Minister Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali assumed the presidency on November 7, 1987.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali appointed Hédi Baccouche as prime minister on November 7, 1987.  The government released some 2,500 political prisoners from detention on December 5, 1987.  The PSD was renamed the Constitutional Democratic Assembly (Rassemblement Constitutionnel Democratique – RCD) in February 1988.  The Progressive Democratic Party (Parti Démocrate Progressiste – PDP) was legally recognized by the government on September 12, 1988.  The Liberal Democratic Social Party (Parti Social Démocratique Liberal – PSDL) was legally recognized by the government on September 19, 1988.  The Unionist Democratic Union (Union Democratique Unioniste – UDU) was legally recognized by the government on November 30, 1988.  Legislative elections were held on April 2, 1989, and the RCD won 141 out of 141 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected without opposition on April 2, 1989.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali dismissed Prime Minister Hédi Baccouche, and appointed Hamed Karoui of the RCD as prime minister on September 27, 1989.  Legislative elections were held on March 20, 1994, and the RCD won 144 out of 163 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  The MDS won ten seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Ben Ali was re-elected without opposition on March 20, 1994.  Local elections were held on May 21, 1995, and the RCD won control of all 257 municipal councils.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with 99 percent of the vote on October 24, 1999.  Legislative elections were held on October 24, 1999, and the RCD won 148 out of 182 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  The MDS won 13 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  Mohammed Ghannouchi of the RCD was appointed as prime minister on November 17, 1999.  Former President Habib Bourguiba died on Tunis on April 6, 2000.  Municipal elections were held on May 28, 2000, and the RCD won 3,885 out of 4,128 seats in municipal councils.  Nineteen individuals, including 14 German tourists, were killed in an explosion at a Jewish synagogue on the Tunisian island of Djerba on April 11, 2002.  Some 99 percent of voters approved several amendments to the constitution in a referendum on May 26, 2002, which would cancel constitutional limits on presidential terms and extend the age limit for presidential candidates from 70 to 75 years.  Legislative elections were held on October 24, 2004, and the RCD won 152 out of 189 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  The MDS won 14 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with 95 percent of the vote on October 24, 2004.  Opposition groups, including the PDP, boycotted the elections and claimed that the results were fraudulent.  Government security forces and Islamic militants clashed south of Tunis on December 24, 2006 and January 3, 2007, resulting in the deaths of 14 militants and two government security officers.  A Tunisian court convicted 18 Islamic militants on terrorism-related charges on April 12, 2008.  One protester was killed during clashes with government policemen in the town of Redeyef on June 6, 2008.  Legislative elections were held on October 25, 2009, and the RCD won 161 out of 214 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  The MDS won 16 seats in the Chamber of Deputies.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was re-elected with 90 percent of the vote on October 25, 2009.  The African Union (AU) sent short-term observers to monitor the legislative and presidential elections.  Mohamed Bouazizi, a street vendor, publicly set himself on fire in the town of Sidi Bouzid on December 17, 2010.  One protester killed himself on December 22, 2010.  One protester, Mohamed Ammari, was killed by government policemen in the town of Menzel Bouzaiene on December 24, 2010.  Several other protesters were injured, and one of them died of his injuries on December 30, 2010.  The U.S. government provided $167 million in security assistance to the Tunisian government between 2011 and 2014.  Mohamed Bouazizi died of his burn injuries on January 4, 2011.

Crisis Phase (January 8, 2011-present):  At least 21 individuals were killed during clashes between protesters and government policemen in the towns of Thala, Kasserine, and Regueb on January 8-10, 2011.  President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali declared a state of emergency, and he fled the country to Saudi Arabia on January 14, 2011.  The Constitutional Court appointed the president of the Chamber of Deputies, Fouad M’Bazaa, as Tunisia’s interim president on January 15, 2011.  The African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council (PSC) condemned the excessive use of force against demonstrators and recognized Fouad M’Bazaa as the interim president of Tunisia on January 15, 2011.  Rachid Ghannouchi, leader of the Ennahda Movement, returned to Tunisia from exile on January 30, 2011.  Originally established in 1981, the Ennahda Movement was formerly known as the Movement of Islamic Tendency (Mouvement de la Tendance Islamique – MTI).  The European Union (EU) imposed economic sanctions (assets freeze) against former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and 47 other individuals on January 31, 2011 (the economic sanctions have been extended annually through at least January 2022).  More than 335 individuals were killed during the protests and that immediately preceded and followed the overthrow of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.  Four protesters were killed during clashes with government policemen in the town of El Kef on February 5, 2011.  The Ministry of Interior suspended the RCD on February 6, 2011, and a Tunisian court dissolved the RCD on March 9, 2011.  On February 14, 2011, the interim government indefinitely extended the state of emergency.  On February 25, 2011, government security forces clashed with anti-government demonstrators in Tunis, resulting in the deaths of three individuals.  Prime Minister Mohammed Ghannouchi resigned on February 27, 2011, and Acting-President Fouad M’Bazaa appointed Mohamed Béji Caïd Essebsi as prime minister.  The interim government headed by Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi legalized the Ennahda Movement on March 1, 2011.  The Popular Unity Movement (Mouvement d’Unité  Populaire – MUP) was legalized on March 8, 2011.  On May 4-5, 2011, government police clashed with protesters in Tunis.  On June 20, 2011, a Tunisian court sentenced former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali and his wife to 35 years in prison for embezzlement and corruption charges.  One individual was killed during protests in the town of Sidi Bouzid on July 17, 2011.  One individual was killed during clashes between protesters and government troops in the town of Sbeitla on September 2, 2011.  Legislative elections were held on October 23, 2011, and the Ennahda Movement won 89 out of 217 seats in the Constituent Assembly.  The Congress for the Republic (Congrès pour la République – CR) won 29 seats in the Constituent Assembly.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) sent observers to monitor the legislative elections from October 20 to October 24, 2011.  The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) sent 75 observers from 22 countries led by Riccardo Migliori of Italy to monitor the legislative elections.  The Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) sent 50 observers to monitor the elections from October 20 to October 26, 2011.  The EU sent 57 long-term observers and 66 short-term observers from 29 countries led by Michael Gahler of Germany to monitor the legislative elections.  The European Parliament sent 15 short-term observers led by Gabriele Albertini of Italy to monitor the legislative elections from October 19 to October 25, 2011.  The Turkish government sent ten observers to monitor the legislative elections.  The U.S.-based NGO, The Carter Center, sent five long-term observers and 42 short-term observers from more than 25 countries to monitor the legislative elections from August 4 to November 10, 2011.  The U.S.-based NGO, International Republican Institute (IRI), sent five long-term observers and 32 short-term observers to monitor the legislative elections from October 2 to October 24, 2011.  The U.S.-based NGO, National Democratic Institute (NDI), sent two long-term observers and 45 short-term observers from 17 countries to monitor the legislative elections from October 18 to October 25, 2011. On November 21, 2011, the 217-seat Constituent Assembly held its inaugural session.  Mohamed Moncef Marzouki of the CR was elected as Interim President by the Constituent Assembly on December 12, 2011.  President Marzouki appointed Hamadi Jebali of the Ennahda Movement as prime minister on December 14, 2011. A Tunisian military court sentenced in absentia former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to life imprisonment for the killing of 22 protesters in Thala and Kasserine in late 2010 and early 2011.  Some 8,000 Tunisians, mostly Islamic Salafists, demonstrated in support of the creation of an Islamic state in Tunis on March 25, 2012.  A Tunisian court sentenced in absentia former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali to life imprisonment for his role in the killing of protesters during demonstrations in 2012.  Former Prime Minister Mohamed Béji Caïd Essebsi formally established the Call of Tunisia (Nidaa Tounes – NT) on June 16, 2012.  Some 6,000 Tunisians, mostly women, protested against the Islamic-led government in Tunis on August 13, 2012.  Four individuals were killed when protesters, mostly Islamic Salafists, ransacked the U.S. embassy in Tunis on September 14, 2012.  The Popular Front for the Realization of the Objectives of the Revolution (Front Populaire pour la Réalisation des Objectifs de la Révolution – PFROR), a coalition of leftist political parties, was established on October 7, 2012.  One Islamic militant was killed in clashes with government police in Tunis on October 30, 2012.  Government police clashed with protesters in the town of Siliana on November 27-December 1, 2012, resulting in injuries to at last 252 individuals.  Chokri Belaid, secretary-general of the Democratic Patriots’ Movement (Mouvement des Patriotes Démocrates – MPD), was assassinated in Tunis on February 6, 2013.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the assassination of Chokri Belaid.  Jean-Claude Mignon, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (COE), condemned the “despicable crime which is aimed at destabilizing the democratic transition process in Tunisia.”  Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, condemned the assassination of Chokri Belaid.  The governments of France, Germany, United Kingdom, and the U.S. condemned the assassination of Chokri Belaid.  Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali resigned on February 19, 2013, and Ali Larayedh of the Ennahda Movement was appointed as prime minister on February 22, 2013.  One protester, a member of a radical Islamist group, was killed in clashes with government policemen in the Ettadhamen district of Tunis on May 19, 2013.  Two government soldiers were killed in a roadside explosion in the Chaambi mountains on June 6, 2013.  Mohamed Brahmi, leader of the People’s Movement (Mouvement du Peuple – MP), was assassinated in Tunis on July 25, 2013.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi.  Eight government soldiers were ambushed and killed by Islamic militants in northwestern Tunisia on July 29, 2013.  On July 30, 2013, the General Union of Tunisian Workers (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail – UGTT) called for the dissolution of the government headed by Prime Minister Ali Larayedh of the Ennahda Movement.  On August 5, 2013, government police clashed with anti-government protesters in the town of Sidi Bouzid in southern Tunisia.  On September 26, 2013, thousands of protesters demanded the resignation of the government headed by Prime Minister Ali Larayedh of the Ennahda Movement.  The Ennahda Movement agreed to talks with opposition political parties regarding the resignation of the government and new elections.  Government troops clashed with Islamic militants in Sidi Bouzid province on October 23, 2013, resulting in the deaths of seven government soldier and two militants.  On October 25, 2013, representatives of the Ennahda Movement and opposition political parties began talks regarding forming an interim government before the next elections.  A suicide bomber killed himself in the tourist resort of Sousse on October 30, 2013.  Representatives of the Ennahda Movement and opposition political parties signed a political agreement on December 14, 2013.  Prime Minister Ali Larayedh of the Ennahda Movement formally resigned on January 9, 2014, and Mehdi Jomaa formed a interim government as prime minister on January 10, 2014.  One individual was killed during clashes between protesters and government police in the city of Kasserine in southern Tunisia on January 10, 2014.  The Constituent Assembly approved a new constitution on January 26, 2014.  Government policemen raided a house in Raoued on February 3-4, 2014, resulting in the deaths of seven Islamic militants and one government policeman.  Islamic militants clashed with government police in Tunis on February 8, 2014, resulting in the death of one militant.  President Moncef Marzouki lifted the state of emergency on March 6, 2014.  On government soldier was killed in a landmine explosion near the Algerian border on April 18, 2014.  Government troops launched a military operation against Islamic militants in the Chaambi mountains near the border with Algeria on April 29, 2014.  On May 1, 2014, the parliament voted 132 to 11 in favor of a new electoral law.  On May 23, 2014, two government soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit a landmine on a mountain near the border with Algeria.  Government policemen clashed with Islamic militants in the city of Goubellat on June 12, 2014, resulting in the deaths of two government policemen and two militants.  Four government soldiers were killed in a landmine explosion on July 2, 2014.  Islamic militants ambushed government troops in the Chaambi mountains near the border with Algeria on July 16-17, 2014, resulting in the deaths of 14 government soldiers.  Islamic militants attacked a government military base in the town of Sbitla on August 3, 2014, resulting in the death of one government soldier.  On August 26, 2014, the U.S. government agreed to provide $60 million in militant assistance to the Tunisian government, including mine-detecting equipment and joint U.S.-Tunisian military training.  One government policeman was killed by an Islamic militant in Oued Ellil near Tunis on October 23, 2014.  Government policemen raided a building in Oued Ellil on October 24, 2014, resulting in the deaths of six individuals.  Legislative elections were held on October 27, 2014, and the NT won 85 out of 217 seats in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.  The Ennahda Movement won 69 seats in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.  Béji Caïd Essebsi of the Call of Tunisia (Nidaa Tounes – NT) was elected president with 56 percent of the vote in the second round of presidential elections held on December 21, 2014.  The EU sent eight election experts, 28 long-term observers, and 28 short-term observers to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from September 17 to December 22, 2014.  The European Parliament sent seven observers to monitor the legislative elections.  The AU sent eleven long-term observers and 40 short-term observers from 17 countries led by former President Cassam Uteem of the Republic of Mauritius to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from October 1 to December 22, 2014.  The League of Arab States (LAS) sent 25 short-term observers from ten countries to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from October 20 to December 22, 2014.  The COE Parliamentary Assembly sent ten short-term observers to monitor the legislative elections from October 22 to October 27, 2014.  The U.S.-based NGO, The Carter Center, sent some 10 long-term observers and 60 short-term observers from more than 25 countries led by Ambassador Audrey Glover of Britain and former Prime Minister Abdulkarim al-Eryani of Yemen to monitor the legislative and presidential elections from July 7 to December 22, 2014.  The U.S.-based NGO, International Republican Institute (IRI), sent ten short-term observers from seven countries to monitor the legislative and presidential elections.  The U.S.-based NGO, National Democratic Institute (NDI), sent short-term observers to monitor the legislative and presidential elections.  The Norway-based NGO, Global Network for Rights and Development (GNRD), and the Switzerland-based NGO, International Institute for Peace, Justice, and Human Rights (IIPJHR), jointly sent 80 short-term observers from 22 countries and 70 staff personnel to monitor the legislative elections from October 13 to October 28, 2014.  Islamic militants attacked a bus carrying government soldiers in Kef on November 5, 2014, resulting in the deaths of four government soldiers.  Following an attack on a polling station, government troops killed one gunman in the governate of Kairouan on December 20, 2014.  Béji Caïd Essebsi was inaugurated as president on December 31, 2014.  Islamic militants killed one government policeman near El Fahes on January 3, 2015.  On February 18, 2015, suspected Islamic militants killed four government policemen in the Kasserine region near the border with Algeria.  On March 18, 2015, Islamic militants attacked the Bardo National Museum in Tunis, resulting in the deaths of 22 individuals.  Most of the individuals killed in the attack were European tourists.  The secretaries-general of the UN, NATO, OSCE, and World Tourism Organization (WTO) condemned the terrorist attack in Tunis.  The UN Security Council condemned the terrorist attack in Tunis.  On May 25, 2015, a government soldier opened fire on soldiers at the Bouchoucha military base in Tunis, resulting in the deaths of seven other government soldiers.  On June 26, 2015, Islamic militants attacked a beach hotel in the resort town of Sousse, resulting in the deaths of 38 individuals.  The Egyptian government condemned the terrorist attack in the resort town of Sousse.  President Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi declared a state of emergency on July 4, 2015.  The government lifted the state of emergency on October 2, 2015.  On October 12, 2015, two government soldiers were killed by Islamic militants during an operation in the Sammama mountains in the Kasserine region.  On November 24, 2015, twelve members of the presidential guards were killed by a suicide bomber in Tunis.  President Béji Caïd Essebsi declared a state of emergency.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council condemned the suicide bombing in Tunis.  Nabil al-Arabi, Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (LAS), condemned the suicide bombing in Tunis.  The U.S. government condemned the suicide bombing in Tunis.  Protests against unemployment took place in the Kasserine region and other locations on January 15-22, 2016, resulting in injuries to 59 government policemen and 40 protesters.  On March 7, 2016, Islamic militants attacked government security forces in the town of Ben Guerdan, resulting in the deaths of 36 militants, 12 soldiers, and seven civilians.  The following day, government security forces killed ten Islamic militants near the town of Ben Guerdane.  UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council condemned the terrorist attacks in the town of Ben Guerdane.  The U.S. government provided $20 million in military assistance (48 jeeps and 12 aircraft) to the Tunisian government in May 2016.  On May 11, 2016, four government policemen were killed in a suicide bombing in the town of Tataouine in southern Tunisia.  That same day one Islamic militant was killed by government police in Tataouine and two Islamic militants were killed by government security forces in Ettadamen.  On July 30, 2016, the government headed by Prime Minister Habib Essid lost a vote of confidence in the parliament.  On August 3, 2016, President Béji Caïd Essebsi appointed Youssef Chahed as prime minister.  On August 27, 2016, the parliament voted 167 to 22 to approve the government headed by Prime Minister Youssef Chahed.  On August 30-31, 2016, government police killed two suspected Islamic militants in western Tunisia.  On November 29, 2016, several countries and international organizations committee several billion in foreign assistance to the Tunisian government, including Qatar ($1.25 billion), European Investment Bank ($2.65 billion loan), Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development ($1.5 billion loan), Saudi Arabia ($800 million), Kuwait ($500 million), and Turkey ($100 million loan).  On January 12, 2017, government police clashed with protesters in the town of Ben Guerdane in southern Tunisia.  On April 30, 2017, government security forces killed two Islamic militants during a raid in the town of Sidi Bouzid.  On May 10, 2017, President Béji Caïd Essebsi ordered government troops to protect phosphate, gas and oil production facilities disrupted by several weeks of protests in Tatouine province in southern Tunisia.  On June 13, 2017, the World Bank approved a $500 million loan to the Tunisian government.  On June 14, 2017, President Béji Caïd Essebsi extended the state of emergency that had been declared in 2015.  On July 26, 2017, the parliament approved legislation intended to combat violence against women, including adopting a broad definition of violence incorporating physical, economic, sexual, political, and psychological forms of violence against women.  On September 13, 2017, the parliament approved legislation to grant amnesty to government officials accused of corruption committed during the rule of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali.  Protests against the government’s austerity policies took place in Tunis and elsewhere beginning on January 1, 2018, resulting in the death of at least one individual.  Government troops were deployed in Kebeli, Bizerte, Sousse, and other towns.  On January 9, 2018, Hamma Hammami, leader of the opposition PFROR, called for protests against the government’s austerity policies to continue across the country.  On January 20, 2018, government security forces killed Bilel Kobi, a member of the al-Qaeda in Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), in the Kasserine region near the border with Algeria.  Municipal elections were held on May 6, 2018.  On July 8, 2018, Islamic militants attacked government security forces near the Algerian borders, resulting in the deaths of six national guardsmen.  President Béji Caïd Essebsi ended his alliance with the Ennahda Movement on September 26, 2018.  Eight government policemen and one civilian were injured in a suicide bombing in Tunis on October 29, 2018.  In December 2018, the government of Saudi Arabia pledged $830 million in foreign assistance to the Tunisian government, including $230 million to finance international trade.  On December 25, 2018, Abderrazak Zorgui, a 32-year-old journalist protesting poverty, unemployment, and corruption, died of self-immolation in the city of Kasserine.  On January 2, 2019, government security forces clashed with Islamic militants in the city of Jilma, resulting in the suicide deaths of two militants.  On January 17, 2019, the General Union of Tunisian Workers (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail – UGTT) conducted a nationwide strike to protest the government’s refusal to raise the salaries of public employees.  On January 28, 2019, Prime Minister Youssef Chahed and other former members of the Call of Tunisia (Nidaa Tounes – NT) established a secular political party, Long Live Tunisia (Tahya Tounes – TT).  On February 9, 2019, a Tunisian court sentenced seven people to life imprisonment for their involvement in terrorist attacks in Tunis and Sousse in 2015.  On May 4, 2019, government police killed three Islamic militants in the city of Sidi Bouzid.  On June 27, 2019, one government policeman was killed by two suicide bombers near the French embassy in Tunis.  President Béji Caïd Essebsi died on July 25, 2019, and Mohamed Ennaceur became acting president.  On August 23, 2019, presidential candidate Nabil Karoui was arrested by government police.  Government security forces clashed with Islamic militants in the Kasserine region near the border with Algeria on September 2, 2019, resulting in the deaths of one government soldier and three militants.  Former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali died in exile in Saudi Arabia on September 19, 2019.  Legislative elections were held on October 6, 2019, and the Ennahda Movement won 52 seats in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.  The Heart of Tunisia (Au Cœur de la Tunisie – CT) won 38 seats in the Assembly of the Representatives of the People.  Kais Saied, an independent, was elected president with 73 percent of the vote in the second round of the presidential election on October 13, 2019.  The AU sent five election experts led by former president Ameenah GuribFakim of the Republic of Mauritius to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  The EU sent ten election experts, 28 long-term observers, and 28 short-term observers led by Fabio Massimo Castaldo to monitor the presidential and legislative elections.  The Arab Network for Democratic Elections (ANDE) sent short-term observers to monitor the legislative elections on October 1-9, 2019.  The Atlanta-based NGO, The Carter Center, sent 16 long-term observers and more than 74 short-term observers led by former prime minister Salam Fayyad of the Palestinian Authority and Tana de Zulueta of Italy to monitor the presidential and legislative elections from mid-July to mid-October 2019.  The National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI) sent eight long-term observers and 32 short-term observers to jointly monitor the presidential and legislative elections from August 15 to October 14, 2019.  Kais Saied was inaugurated as president on October 23, 2019.  Protesting against poverty and unemployment, Abdelwaheb Hablani died after setting himself on fire in the town of Jelma in the Sidi Bouzid region on November 29, 2019.  The next day, government police and protesters clashed in the Sidi Bouzid region, resulting in the arrests of eleven individuals.  Prime Minister-desginate Habib Jemli announced the formation of a government on January 2, 2020.  On January 11, 2020, the parliament voted 72 to 213 to reject the proposed government headed by Habib Jemli, who been nominated for prime minister by the Ennahda Movement.  On February 20, 2020, Elyes Fakhfakh announced the formation of a coalition government involving members of the Ennahda Movement.  The parliament voted 129 to 77 to approved the government headed by Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh on February 27, 2020.  On March 6, 2020, one government policeman was killed by two suicide bombers outside the U.S. embassy in Tunis.  On April 4, 2020, government security forces killed two Islamic militants during an operation in the Kasserine region near the border with Algeria.  Government police clashed with protesters in Tataouine in southern Tunisia on June 21-22, 2020.  The protesters are demanding that the government implement policies to reduce the 30 percent unemployment rate in the region.  On July 15, 2020, the the Ennahda Movement withdrew its support for the government headed by Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh.  Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh submitted his resignation to the president on July 16, 2020.  On July 26, 2020, President Kais Saied appointed Interior Minister Hichem Mechichi as prime minister.  On September 2, 2020, the parliament voted 134-67 to approve the government headed by Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi.  On September 6, 2020, suspected Islamic militants killed one government policeman in the resort town of Sousse.  Three of the militants were killed by government police following the incident.  On December 26, 2020, the government announced a six-month extension of the state-of-emergency that had been declared in 2015.  On December 30, 2020, President Kais Saied announced that he was going to launch a national dialogue, including political parties and youth from all regions of the country, to address the public discontent caused by poor public services, unemployment and corruption.  Violent protests and riots over poverty, unemployment, corruption, and police brutality occurred in Tunis, Kasserine, Gafsa, Sousse, Monastir, and other cities beginning on January 15, 2021.  Government troops were deployed to suppress the protests and riots on January 17, 2021.  On January 23, 2021, the government banned demonstrations and extended a nationwide curfew.  Haykel Rachdi, who had been injured by government police during a protest earlier in the month. died of his injuries at a hospital in Sousse on January 25, 2021.  On February 3, 2021, four government soldiers were killed by a landmine during a counter-terrorism operation in the mountains of central Tunisia.  On February 6, 2021, a large demonstration was held in Tunis to protest police abuses.  The demonstration was supported by the General Union of Tunisian Workers (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail – UGTT), which is Tunisia’s largest labor union with approximately one million members.  On March 30, 2021, government police clashed with protesters in the city of Tataouine in southern Tunisia.  On April 1, 2021, government security forces killed three suspected Islamic militants during operations in the Saloum mountain near the border with Algeria.  On April 18, 2021, President Kais Saied stated that his constitutional powers as commander of the armed forces meant that the president, not the prime minister, also had control over internal security forces.  On April 30, 2021, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced that the Tunisian government would seek a $4 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).  A couple weeks later, the U.S. government agreed to provide $500 million in foreign assistance from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to the Tunisian government in order to finance infrastructure projects.  On May 17, 2021, government security forces conducted an operation against suspected Islamic militants in the Chaanabi mountains near the border with Algeria, resulting in the deaths of five militants.  Government police clashed with protesters in Tunis on June 12-17, 2021.  On June 15, 2021, President Kais Saied called for a dialogue among political parties on creating a new political system and amending the 2014 constitution.  On July 25, 2021, President Kais Saied dismissed Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi and suspended the parliament following violent protests over the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.  On July 26, 2021, the EU Commission called on “all Tunisian actors to respect the Constitution, its institutions and the rule of law” and called on Tunisians to “remain calm and to avoid any resort to violence in order to preserve the stability of the country.”  On July 27, 2021, the Saudi Arabian government affirmed its “confidence in the Tunisian leadership to overcome these circumstances and to achieve a decent life and prosperity for the brotherly Tunisian people.”  On July 28, 2021, Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani of Qatar appealed to all parties in Tunisia to choose a “path of dialogue.”  On July 29, 2021,  For Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed of the United Arab Emirates expressed support for Tunisia.  On July 30, 2021, Yassin Ayari, a member of parliament, was arrested by government security forces.  On August 6, 2021, Anouar Maarouf, a leader of the Ennahda Movement, was placed under house arrested by the government.  On September 3, 2021, Noureddine Taboubi, leader of the UGTT, called on the president to proposed changes to Tunisia’s political system and to hold a referendum to consider proposed amendments to the constitution.  On September 4, 2021, Neji Hefiane died in a hospital in Tunis after setting himself on fire in front of his family.  On September 11, 2021, President Kais Saied stated that he was planning to propose amendments to the constitution to make changes to Tunisia’s political system.

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Selected Bibliography

Farley, Jonathan G. “Tunisia – Forty Years on from Independence,” The Contemporary Review, March 1, 1997, vol. 270 (1574), pp. 125-130.

Micaud, Charles A. 1969. “Leadership and Development: The Case of Tunisia,” Comparative Politics, vol. 1 (4), pp. 468-484.

Moore, Clement H. 1962. “The Neo-Destour Party of Tunisia: A Structure for Democracy?,” World Politics, vol. 14 (3), pp. 461-482.

Shepherd, George W. “Tunisia and Arab Nationalism,” Current History, July 1, 1959, vol. 37 (215), pp. 30-34.

Tessler, Mark. “Tunisia at the Crossroads,” Current History, May 1, 1985, vol. 84 (502), pp. 217-220.