Legislative elections: Double penalty for Tunisians living abroad

« Tunisians residing abroad (TRE) have suffered a double penalty: first of all, the number of their representatives’ seats decreased from 18 to 10. Second of all, the requirement for obtaining 400 sponsors is absurd and unfair » says one candidate who did not make into the upcoming legislative elections. Indeed, the country’s new electoral law has clearly diminished TRE’s chances of benefiting from representation in parliament.

Legislative elections 2022: A catastrophe foretold

New figures quantifying the candidacies presented for Tunisia’s upcoming legislative elections are cause for concern. According to numbers reported by the Independent High Authority for Elections, equality between men and women is naught. Furthermore, not all Tunisians will necessarily benefit from parliamentary representation. And candidates’ visibility in the media is problematic, as coverage will be focused on individual runners not on electoral lists as usual.

IMF-Tunisia agreement: a social time-bomb

Tunisia’s new agreement with the IMF is just two months away from becoming operational. The government, however, is far from being prepared to navigate what follows once it begins the precarious task of dismantling the subsidies system which covers basic goods and hydrocarbons. Rather than alleviating pressure on the country’s most vulnerable groups, it is likely to incite anger and indeed set off the social time bomb that it had hoped to disarm.

Feminist outcry against Tunisia’s electoral law

The new electoral law unilaterally decreed by president Kais Saied spurred outcry among women’s rights advocates in Tunisia. In protest of the new legislation, a feminist movement formed of nine associations staged a sit-in before the Independent High Authority for Elections (ISIE). As these activists voice demands for absolute parity between men and women in the public sphere, the president’s backwards approach to equality threatens to reverse women’s political gains.

Sub-Saharan migrants in Tunisia: Marginalization of a replacement workforce

Some 57 thousand sub-Saharan migrants are currently living in Tunisia, according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). To make ends meet, many of them take on precarious, underpaid jobs as builders, servers and agricultural workers. This demographic of foreign workers has replaced a Tunisian workforce that has shown itself reluctant to such economic activities. In the meantime, Tunisian legislation has failed to address what is becoming a dire socio-economic dilemma, as the absence of clear policy leaves free rein to all sorts of abuses against migrant workers.

Cleanup-Month: Environmental protection relegated to citizens

« It’s a sign of the Ministry’s shortcoming. The minister travels around with her staff and meets with governors, but doesn’t include the communes. The result? A handful of individuals cleaning up plastic » quips the president of the National Federation of Tunisian Communes (FNCT). « The initiative aims to instill a culture of environmentalism. A clean environment is a daily effort and lifelong commitment » retorts a ministry official.

Sea in danger, contaminated by human and industrial waste

Stretching across a distance of 1,300 kilometers, the Tunisian coastline is one of the country’s most treasured riches. And pollution threatens to destroy it. Every year, the Ministry of Health publishes a list of beaches where swimming is prohibited. The most obvious culprit is the National Sanitation Utility (ONAS). Water analyses indicate the presence of significant levels of fecal matter in the sea. But the government’s laissez-faire policies offer no incentive for industrial facilities to limit the pollutants they release into the environment.

Tunisia Running Dry

For the past five years Abderrazzak Sibri hasn’t harvested a single olive from the 357 olive trees on his land in Sidi Mahmoud, a rural town in the province of Kairouan (central Tunisia). Sibri had planned to plant more olive trees, but lack of rain, several years of draughts and decreased ground water levels impacted production and changed his plans. “What bothers me most is that I have been investing in these trees,” he says. “When they finally reach the age in which they can produce regularly and abundantly, there is no more water to keep them growing.”