Tunisia : Bringing an end to Personal Status

A hostage to its « sacro-patriarchal » paradigm, Tunisia’s Code of Personal Status has become a glass ceiling—blocking women’s access to full and complete citizenship and preventing them from enjoying all of their human rights—in a society where the demand for equality between men and women presents a permanent threat to a public order that is gendered.

The impossible reform of the Lebanese financial system

In recent months, Lebanon has been alive with rumours about a forthcoming devaluation. In mid-September, the governor of the Central Bank, Riadh Salameh was obliged to officially deny that he was ill and had to resign and Michel Aoun, the President of the Republic, also had to declare that the Lebanese pound was in good health and that the country was not on the road to bankruptcy. For every Lebanese these factors are indeed closely related since all know that the country is deep in debt.

Palestine : “Good governance” to bury the Intifada

The second Intifada used a large network of parallel and informal financial assistance to provide material and logistical support to the Palestinian resistance. That is why Israel has imposed reforms on the Palestinian Authority that have played a decisive role in its control strategy. Presented as a step towards good governance and the fight against corruption, they contributed to the halt given to the Intifada after the death of Yasser Arafat.

Chahed courts the IMF, Tunisian General Labor Union defiant

On February 25, Youssef Chahed announced the appointment of new heads to several ministries. The UGTT lost not a minute in denouncing what it called a politically-driven and unilateral decision to replace Abid Briki, former UGTT Under Secretary General, with Khalil Ghariani, head of social affairs for the UTICA, as Minister of Public Service. In a statement published on February 26, the UGTT deemed the move a deliberate provocation, and made in the interest of unblocking the second installment of a $2.9 billion loan from the IMF. The conflict, which culminated in Ghariani’s refusal to accept the nomination and the subsequent suspension of the Ministry of Public Service on March 2, is the most recent flare-up in the tenuous relationship between the current government and country’s largest workers union.

Reviving the Beys

Broad-faced, imposing Qsar Essaïd in Tunis was the palace Sadok Bey, one of Tunisia’s many rulers under the Ottoman Empire. It was here where Sadok Bey adopted Qanoun Eddawla, the country’s first constitution. Two decades later, he signed the Treaty of Bardo, marking the beginning of the French protectorate. Today, sixty years after independence and six years after the revolution, Qsar Essaïd has been opened to the public with “The Awakening of a Nation,” an exhibition on a period of Tunisia’s history (1837-1881) that modern regimes preferred to forget.

A new face for the same “foreign support” to Tunisia

Assessing Tunisia’s resistance to political and economic reforms, the Atlantic Council observes that “old guard networks are present throughout the political system, the business world, and security institutions,” and proposes that Western donors adopt new support strategy to help Tunisia progress in its democratization process.

Bread: cereal production and food security

Earlier this year, the Food and Agriculture Administration (FAO) of the United Nations reported that wheat constitutes 96% of cereals consumed and over half of the daily caloric intake per person in Tunisia. What’s more, the high demand for cereals, and by extension cereal imports, are projected to rise in the years to come. In measure with these findings, statistics recently published by the Ministry of Agriculture for the 2014-2015 seasons report above-average imports; meanwhile, market speculations for 2016 anticipate that cereal imports to Tunisia will be up 15% from the previous five-year average.