Timely update on Tunisia from UK Ambassador for interested MPs/Peers
On 3 February, BGIPU hosted a virtual briefing with the British Ambassador to Tunisia, HMA Helen Winterton. Damien Moore MP, member of the BGIPU Executive Committee and Chair of the Tunisia APPG, hosted the briefing.
Tunisia was initially hailed as a democratic success after the Arab Spring in 2011. However, years of political wrangling revealed flaws in the country’s nascent democratic system. With the support of the disillusioned population, President Saied dissolved the Tunisian Parliament in July 2011, gave himself the power to rule by decree, and suspended the Prime Minister.
The Ambassador spoke at length about this fast-changing political situation. She explained that there will be a consultation period, planned to last a year, during which a new constitution will be written. The President has promised parliamentary elections to take place in December 2022, if all goes to plan.
The economy in Tunisia has suffered multiple shocks over the last ten years. The pandemic has exacerbated the situation and the economic forecasts are now worse than pre-2011. Furthermore, the unemployment rate currently stands at 18% and is much higher for young people.
The Ambassador explained that the UK intends to support Tunisia’s political reform to maintain and build on the gains won in 2011. Political freedom and democracy remain key political priorities for the UK. The briefing was hugely worthwhile to keep UK parliamentarians informed about a country in the process of transformation. BGIPU would like to thank HMA Helen Winterton and the MPs and Peers who attended the session.