In the Triple Threat to Tunisia’s Democracy, Corruption is King

“As austerity protestors clash with security forces in Tunisia, the country’s young democracy is threatened by a triple challenge: Insecurity, a lack of socioeconomic development and persistent corruption are interlinked and reinforce each other. Individually and in concert they undermine citizens’ confidence in the democratic system and hamper its ability to produce democracy dividends. Corruption is the most pernicious of these three phenomena and improvements here could translate into tangible gains in the two other areas. To support Tunisian democracy, the European Union and its member states should therefore put a greater emphasis on anti-corruption efforts. Prime Minister Youssef Chahed’s “war on corruption” provides a timely opportunity for this. But the window of opportunity can close quickly with a change of government. Thus, beside redoubling their efforts and making them sustainable, Europe should also develop policy options for a Tunisian political environment less open to anti-corruption cooperation…”

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