Observatori Adrià Rivera (IBEI) researcher Adrià Rivera analyses Tunisia’s democratisation process in the article “Tunisia’s democratisation process: when ‘consensus democracy’ undermines democratic consolidation“. The article has been published in the journal Third World Quarterly.
Abstract: Consensus between moderate Islamists and moderate secularists is usually judged as the touchstone of democracy in Tunisia. However, after a decade, the ‘Tunisian model’ is being questioned, as institutional and economic crises have become the norm in the country. The aim of the article is to look at how consensus adopted in the transition affected long-term democratic consolidation. To answer this question the article unpacks the concept of consensus, considering, on the one hand, the institutional architecture of consensus democracy and, on the other hand, the practice of consensus politics. The case study is used to identify the patterns generated by the interaction of these two dimensions of consensus through time. Two reforms prescribed in the 2014 constitution, the creation of the Constitutional Court and decentralisation, are taken as heuristic tools to examine democratic consolidation. In both reforms the mismatch between institutions and politics of consensus produced deadlock and non-consolidation. It is in this context that, in July 2021, President Saied dismissed the government and suspended the parliament with the intention to put an end to consensus democracy.
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