Thursday, February 12, 2015

Blog #2: Tunisia backtracks while adjusting to democracy

After promising to bring about economic reform for their new democratic policies, Prime Minister Habib Essid announced plans to roll back a new tax. Ever since the nation's overthrowing of its autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in a revolt 3 years ago, democratic transition began and Tunisia began to glow. But recent protests have made clear that the economic list of  reforms will not be easy, being a country relying on tourism, with few natural resources and high unemployment. 
With the revolts last week, including one in which police shot a man that had been protesting the same tax that Essid just stated he would bring back, lenders such as the International Monetary Fund have given credit to Tunisia to try and lessen heavy public spending and their deficit by further reform, such as supply chains for food goods and fuel.

One Tunisian policy tried to raise money by imposing a tax of $20 on foreign travelers, but this upset residents of two small gateway towns on the Libyan border. They asked for the tax to be repealed because it hurt daily trade with Libya, of which  responded by imposing a tax on Tunisian travelers. Despite trying to uphold democratic standards, it seems to me that Tunisia is taking two steps forward and one step back; their unemployment is reaching 15.2%, AFTER the revolution that claimed it would change its 2013 standing at 12%. A third of the unemployed are young graduates who are combating the impeding forces of Islamic militant in places like Syria and Iraq. 
No one said democracy was easy, but I think this rough start for Tunisia had been inevitable. They're lucky they didn't get caught up in internal warfare like their once politically-divided Arab Spring counterparts in Yemen and Libya. Tunisia's biggest success, in my opinion, is the PM's duo government including the secular Nidaa Tounes party and Islamist party Ennahda, which both work together using compromise to keep Tunisia from tumbling backwards. A feat like this should be applauded and revered, and I'm sure the rest will fall in place for the country. 
Read the article here at:

Salwa Majeed
Thursday, February 2015
11:54 PM

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