Free and fair national elections in 2019 and a smooth unscheduled presidential transition have proved the resilience of Tunisian constitutionalism. Yet, after the end of the assessment period in January 2021, the emergency declaration by President Kais Saied in the summer of 2021 and the subsequent erosion of the separation of powers and executive accountability undermine democratic institutions.

Tunisia’s economic model has barely changed and does not deliver for many Tunisians. After a decade of effective economic stagnation, the COVID-19-induced recession is estimated to be the deepest economic contraction in the country’s post-independence history.

Outperforming many European countries, the Tunisian authorities were comparatively successful in containing the spread of the coronavirus in early 2020. A professional civil service and competent medical establishment recognized the threat early on and reacted swiftly. Elsewhere, governance deficits are glaring, especially in consensus-building as a precondition for urgently needed reforms.

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