Resilient Democracy: An Egyptian Perspective on the Tunisian Democratic Transition

Tunisia gave the Arab world its first revolution in the 21st century. A revolution that demanded freedom, social الديمقراطية الصعبة غلافjustice, democracy, human and national dignity. After bringing down its dictator, the country became a leading example of a desire to break away from autocracy and corruption. In this context, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) has recently published a new book titled Resilient Democracy: An Egyptian Perspective on the Tunisian Transition, written by Egyptian journalist Karim Yahya with an introduction by Tunisian rights advocate Messaoud Romdhani.

The book is number 34 in CIHRS’s Reform Issues Series. In seven chapters it provides readers with an overview of the democratic transition in Tunisia, focusing on electoral junctures, constitutional referendum and both rounds of the parliamentary and presidential elections. With the eye of an on-the-ground journalist and the mindset of an observer and researcher, Yahya describes and analyzes the mechanisms, techniques, background, outcomes and players involved in Tunisian elections, including civil society. The author devotes an entire chapter to the reverberations of the June 30–July 3 events in Egypt on Tunisian politics, attempting to answer an important question: to what extent did the removal of Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi in Egypt influenced events in Tunisia and overthrew the Ennahda-led Troika from government? Why did events in Tunisia take a different path after this incident? In the final chapter, titled “Sidi Bouzid Sooner or Later,” the author offers a case study of developments in the four years following the first spark of the Tunisian revolution. The analysis is based on the results of four elections, starting with the election of the constituent assembly in October 2011 and ending with the presidential runoff in December 2014, as well as field visits to the city of Sidi Bouzid, the cradle of the Arab revolutions, and numerous discussions with its inhabitants, in an attempt to expose not only political transformations but social ones as well.

The book includes a substantial appendix that contains press articles that were not published in Arabic or were censored, as well as 20 interviews with figures from Tunisian society of diverse ages political, intellectual and social orientations that explore the Tunisian revolution and the transition to democracy. The appendix also includes an interview with Ennahda leader Rached Ghannouchi and AlAzhar alAkrami the official spokesman for Nidaa Tounes, conducted by the author in November 2012 to understand political shifts in the country. The 270-page book is Yahya’s fourth about Tunisia, all published in the wake of the revolution in Tunisia and Egypt. Since the author first traveled to Tunisia in September 2011, he became committed to keeping audiences in the Arab world informed about the political transition in the country. Allowing readers to compare and learn about the problems and solutions encountered and the positive and negative aspects of the democratic transition in Tunisia.

The Arabic version of the book is available at the following link: Arabic Version

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