The election of Beji Caid Essebsi President of Tunisia in last December’s elections motivated different readings among analysts. For some of them Essebsi’s election symbolised the “final phase of a counter-revolution that closed the Arab Spring parenthesis that was opened in 2011.” Moreover, since the first 100 days in the rule of any president are usually indicative of the new policy, Essebsi’s opponents (excluding Ennahdha who) point to the nomination of Lahbib Essid, former interior minister and head of cabinet in Ben Ali’s regime, as proof of the return of the old guard. Besides, The arrest of Yassin Al Ayari, youth activist, was sentenced to 3 years in prison for “defaming the army” on Facebook. According to those analysts, another sign of the return of the Ben Ali regime, is the absence of any reference to transitional justice in Essebsi’s first presidential speech. Other Arab thinks such as Egyptian Fahmy Hewidy thinks that Ennahdha opted for a strategic compromise in which it favoured the consolidation of a nascent democracy rather than short term political gain. However, two Tunisian academics and analysts charged Ennahdha leadership in particular with a share of responsibility in the return of the Deep State apparatus to the command. In an extremely critical op-ed of Ennahadha’s strategy, Suhil Ghanouchi, charged Ennahdha’s elite for giving in and considered that that ” does not suit those destiny elects to be national leaders to lead a revolution and make history.” For Mohamed Henid, lecturer at Sorbonne University, “the struggle is not between two candidates… but, in essence, between two ideas and projects: the project for Change and that of despotism”. Henid concluded by saying that despite all the setbacks of the revolutionary momentum the counter-revolution, in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Yemen would consolidate the collective Arabs awareness of the challenges of confronting despotism and would establish the cornerstone of a forthcoming second wave of change that would sweep everything to establish real change.

Posted by Editor