On the 4th of March, we convened a small roundtable for Members of Parliament and analysts working on North Africa titled: Understanding Tunisia’s new political landscape. The keynote speaker at the event was Dr Tarek Kahlaoui, who has been heavily active in Tunisian politics since the 2011 Revolution. Most notably, he led the Presidential Think Tank on behalf of then President Moncef Marzouki from 2012-14. He remains a prominent activist, analyst and commentator in Tunisia. The event was hosted by Fabian Hamilton MP, the Shadow Minister for Peace and Disarmament.
The meeting came at an important moment for Tunisia. A new government was only approved on the 2nd of March by the Tunisian parliament after months of political deadlock. The political fragmentation of the Tunisian parliament after October’s legislative election has made it significantly harder to form a coherent majority and it remains unclear how the new government will approach contentious issues, given its apparent ideological diversity.
Tarek charted the development of Tunisian politics after the 2011 Revolution and outlined key features of the new government. He emphasised that there is greater agreement on key issues between the parties that form the coalition than might first appear, suggesting it could have the strength to tackle a number of the country’s entrenched problems, such as corruption. However, for this potential to be realised the main personalities in the parties will need to find an effective working relationship if the government is not to become bogged down by internal disputes.