What's going wrong in Tunisia?

Tunisians have been demonstrating against the high cost of living and the government's austerity policy for roughly a week. Seven years after the Arab Spring started in the country journalists comment on the background to the protests.

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Der Standard (AT) /

Real problems not being addressed

Tunisia is not solely responsible for its current plight, Der Standard writes:

“Again and again there have been major attempts at reform - such as for example the advances made in guaranteeing women's rights, exemplary in the Arab world. But authoritarianism is also creeping back in other places, also because people are increasingly showing impatience. Many of the problems are homemade, but the international community also bears considerable responsibility. The US, for example, sees Tunisia only in the context of the war on terror. Few people make the connection between radicalisation on the one hand and social problems, including frustration over mismanagement and corruption, on the other. And amidst all these developments there's also a growing yearning for a counter-revolution like the one in Egypt.”

Financial Times (GB) /

Tunisia needs help instead of austerity

The West must do more to keep Tunisia's democracy alive, Financial Times concurs:

“It is not only Tunis that has been curiously conservative in its response to the demands of the revolution. The International Monetary Fund, called in amid faltering growth, has too - prescribing the bitter pill of structural adjustment to a country beset by social inequality and navigating a treacherous political transition. The IMF cannot be expected to treat Tunisia very differently from other patients. But if Europe and America believe that Tunisia is an exceptional case, and that a narrowly technocratic answer to the demands of the revolution is politically unfeasible, they could bring more support.”

L'Opinion (FR) /

None of the parties focussed on the common good

Political advisor Hakim El Karoui hopes in L'Opinion that the Tunisian parties will address the concerns of the population:

“They're unable to conduct a rational debate on the fate of Tunisian society. As a result, the interest groups are battling to secure their incomes while the civil servants - most of whom have come down in the world and are very poorly paid - are afraid to take decisions for fear of being accused of embezzlement. The result: the whole country is paralysed. At the same time, the people's expectations are immense, and the populists are vying against each other with their promises. ... New institutions are needed to get Tunisia back on its feet. Unless, of course, the crisis can induce the parties to work less for their own personal interests and more for the common good.”