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Understanding the Success of Mass Civic Protest in Tunisia

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Abstract:

On the surface, the 2011 Tunisian Revolution seems attributable primarily to economic causes, social media, and the army's refusal to back the regime of President Zine El-'Abidine Ben 'Ali. A deeper look reveals that its success depended on the interaction between the structural brittleness of a regime that had alienated many key civilian constituencies and the emergence of sustained, cross-class, geographically widespread, mass demonstrations. These demonstrations were facilitated by Islamist moderation, secularist-Islamist rapprochement within the opposition, and the actions of the Tunisian General Union of Labor (Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail, or UGTT). In the wake of Ben 'Ali's departure, Islamist moderation and the fruits of secularist-Islamist rapprochement facilitated the holding of elections and the drafting of a new constitution.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3751/67.4.13

Publication date: September 1, 2013

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