Hard-won victories of Arab spring appear more fragile than ever

Libya 0 Comment 1

As the protests in Tunisia show, the underlying economic and social grievances that sparked the original regional uprisings remain

In the cradle of the Arab spring, it’s reckoning time again, when the hopes for the Tunisian revolution of seven years ago are measured against its gains. In Tunisia, and in other Arab states rocked by the insurgencies it sparked, hard-won victories appear more fragile than ever.

In many cases the underlying issues that fired revolts first in Tunisia, then in Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, Yemen and Syria, remain unchanged. Sclerotic state structures that withered under sustained challenge from the street, and whose demise was seen as transformative, have clawed back losses by re-empowering the security forces that had shielded them for generations.

Related: Who is protesting in Tunisia and why?

The prime minister, Youssef Chahed, is a member of the Nidaa Tounes party, and heads a broad coalition of Islamist and secular parties that came to power in 2015 after parliamentary elections in 2014. He took over from Habib Essid in August 2016 after Essid lost a confidence vote in parliament. As with the previous eight administrations elected since 2011, Chahed’s coalition has struggled to  tackle growing economic problems.  

Related: As Syria’s war enters its endgame, the risk of a US-Russia conflict escalates | Mary Dejevsky

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