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  • Author: Francesco Cavatorta
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: The survival of the Moroccan monarchy during the Arab revolts did not come as a surprise. Once the King reclaimed political leadership through the launch of a constitutional reform, the protest movement faded and whatever challenge to the pre-eminence of the monarchy in the political system might have existed ended quickly. A number of different and interlinked explanations have been advanced for the survival of authoritarianism in Morocco, but they generally rehash conventional wisdoms about Moroccan politics that may not be as valid as they were in the past. This paper looks beyond such traditional explanations, focusing on less obvious factors that contributed to the survival of the monarchy. A more sophisticated explanation for the survival of the regime can serve as a more insightful guide to what Morocco might look like in the future and what are the challenges and opportunities ahead.
  • Topic: Democratization, Governance, Authoritarianism, Popular Revolt, Reform
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-67-5
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Maryam Ben Salem
  • Publication Date: 10-2015
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Tunisia is the only Arab Spring country which has succeeded so far in its democratic transition. Now that all the democratic institutions have been put in place, and after the legislative and presidential elections of 2014, the chances of democratic consolidation remain to be seen. Yet the regime faces serious challenges that cast doubt on its survival capacity. The political dynamics at play after the 2014 elections, which allowed Nidaa Tounes to come to power, cannot be understood without taking into account the conditions surrounding the political transition itself. The National Dialogue, hosted by the Quartet who were recently awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, is key to understanding the ongoing process of democracy consolidation. Taking into account both contingent and structural factors, this paper analyses how the current context is likely to shape the choices of the presidency of the Republic and of the Essid government, as well as the implications in terms of their legitimacy.
  • Topic: Democratization, Islam, Regime Change, Popular Revolt
  • Political Geography: North Africa
  • Publication Identifier: 978-88-98650-65-1
  • Publication Identifier Type: DOI
  • Author: Mohammed Hashas
  • Publication Date: 12-2013
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Compared to Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, Morocco's political development looks like an oasis of tranquillity. "Moroccan exceptionalism" is often drawn on as a positive status, the result of at least one decade of reforms implemented by the monarchy, long before the Arab Spring events. An alternative view is offered by some civil society movements inside the country and by the 20 February Movement, born amidst the waves of the Arab Spring, which are critical of this exceptionalism and call for more reforms. By making reference to the constitutional reforms undertaken by the country since 1908 and by assessing the most recent reform efforts, this paper argues that "Moroccan exceptionalism" is yet to go through the test of the implementation of what is often referred to as a "promising constitution" that should in its intentions pave the way for a genuine constitutional monarchy in Morocco. "Moroccan exceptionalism," as the paper concludes, is not the description of a "final" political situation; rather, it is merely "a phase" in the political life of a country undergoing transition. It is then the outcome of this "phase" that will determine whether "exceptionalism" takes on a positive or a negative meaning and whether the two contrasting narratives about "exceptionalism" can ultimately be reconciled.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Democratization, Political Economy, Reform
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, Ethiopia, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia
  • Author: Nathalie Tocci, Rym Ayadi, Maria Cristina Paciello, Silvia Colombo
  • Publication Date: 01-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Owing to its macroeconomic achievements, for decades Tunisia projected an image of stability to the world and distinguished itself from other Arab countries for its progress in the areas of economic growth, health, education and women's rights. This widely held view of apparent stability was shattered on January 14, when President Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali fled the country after high levels of unemployment and inequalities resulted in widespread chaos and social unrest. Events in Tunisia raise sharp questions regarding the country's current situation and its future prospects and, more generally, the often taken-forgranted sustainability of many regimes of the Middle East and the policies of the European Union towards the region.
  • Topic: Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Europe, Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia
  • Author: Jean-Pierre Cassarino
  • Publication Date: 02-2011
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Istituto Affari Internazionali
  • Abstract: Since the fall of Ben Ali on 14th January 2011, Tunisia has been going through a process of transformation and reconfiguration of the manifold relationships between the state and society. So far, a series of legal amendments and policy provisions have been considered to respond to immediate political demands in the run-up to the next elections. However, the numerous policy steps that have been achieved so far should not conceal resilient challenges pertaining, among others, to the structure of the economy and to its capacity to tackle youth unemployment, poverty in depressed areas, unfair competition, and corruption. The interim government will need to address these deeper challenges lest its credibility be jeopardised and the overall reform process compromised.
  • Topic: Democratization, Insurgency
  • Political Geography: Arabia, North Africa, Tunisia