Elizabeth R. Nugent

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A man stands outside the Supreme Judicial Council building in Tunis on Feb. 6. (Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters)

Early Sunday morning, Tunisian President Kais Saied announced his intent to dissolve the Supreme Judicial Council, the body tasked with ensuring the independence of the country’s judicial system. This move, the latest in a series of efforts by Saied to consolidate power after he suspended parliament and declared a state of emergency in July 2021, comes after months of the president’s attacks on Tunisian judges.

These latest attempts by Saied to consolidate power come less than two weeks after the anniversary of the ratification of Tunisia’s post-uprising constitution, negotiated in the years following the country’s 2010-2011 Arab Spring uprising. While the new constitution was a momentous accomplishment for Tunisia, its future is uncertain at the moment.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Tunisian policeman dressed in civilian clothing casts his vote April 29 during municipal elections at a polling station for the police and military in Tunis. (Hassene Dridi/AP)

On May 6, Tunisian citizens will finally head to the polls for the country’s first municipal elections since its 2011 popular uprising. Voters will cast ballots in all of the country’s 24 governorates for 7,212 available council seats in 350 municipalities, including 86 new municipalities created since 2015. Delayed twice since originally planned in 2016, these elections are another milestone in Tunisia’s tumultuous ongoing transition.

What’s at stake

Tunisia hosted a highly centralized political system under former president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and the ruling party, the Democratic Constitution Rally (RCD). Eighty percent of municipal council seats were legally guaranteed to members of the ruling party, and the president of the municipality was required to be a member of the RCD’s local coordination committee.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Egyptian woman casts her vote March 27 at a polling station in Cairo, during the second day of the presidential election. (Amr Nabil/AP)

During the last week of March, Egyptians headed to the polls to award incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sissi a second term. The event was an election in name only — and many Egyptians intentionally invalidated their ballots to register their protest.

Successive candidates from the military, civil society and the Islamist movement were pressured out of the race before campaigning even began. Sisi eventually faced off against a handpicked candidate, Musa Mustapha Musa, an uninspiring Ghad party official, who has been described as “an obscure toady gleaned from the scrap heap of fourth-rate politicians.” In the lead-up to the election, the Sisi regime observed “few boundaries on its untamed repression of all forms of dissent,’’ jailing, deporting or otherwise silencing any semblance of opposition.…  Seguir leyendo »