As a new government begins its term in Tunisia, the leadership faces a potent combination of challenges that have the potential to derail some of the progress made since January 2011, when the country began its transition to democratic rule. From an economy wracked by the Covid-19 pandemic, to growing political polarisation, to persistent corruption, Tunisia’s political future remains uncertain.
Tunisia has fared relatively well during the pandemic, initiating severe lockdown measures early on that helped keep the number of cases down. While the country has seen an uptick in cases following the reopening of the land, air and sea borders on June 27, the number of cases (more than 8,000 cases and at least 129 deaths as of Thursday) remains low compared to other Mediterranean countries. But the damage Covid-19 has brought to Tunisia is far greater than the disease casualties. Rather, the pandemic has left Tunisia with an unemployment rate of 20 per cent, GDP growth rate expected to decline by 7 per cent this year and a tourism industry a shambles.