Reaching the end of the tunisian consensus: disaffection and pending challenges
Hernando de Larramendi, Miguel
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Throughout 2018, Tunisia has been witness to a process of disaffection towards its institutions and political class, revealing the limits of the consensus the country’s political life has revolved around in recent years. Although the Constitution provides for a semi-presi- dentialist political system, the consensual dynamic generated between Nidaa Tounes and Ennahda after the 2014 legislative elections has allowed Beji Caid Essebsi to strengthen the role of the President of the Republic (Gobe, 2017). Elected by universal suf- frage, and therefore with the personal legitimacy that the ballot box provides, he pushed for the formation of coalition governments of national unity, but without strong political leadership. The efforts of successive heads of government to achieve a more autonomous role have been a source of friction throughout his mandate. Thus, the dismissal of Habib Essid, a tech- nocrat that led the government between 2015 and 2016, did nothing to stop these tensions continuing with his successor at the head of the National Unity Government, Youssef Chahed (Gobe, 2018). These strains, together with the worsening economic situa- tion and the absence of responses to the regional im- balances and inequalities at the heart of the 2011 rev- olution, have contributed to widening the rift between the population and the political elite, a situation re- flected in the survey conducted by Afrobarometer in 2018, according to which 81% of Tunisians did not identify with any political party (Afrobarometer, 2018).