Economic and Political Change in Tunisia: From Bourguiba to by E. Murphy

By E. Murphy

This e-book examines the methods of monetary and political reform in Tunisia, putting the present guidelines of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali inside their historic context. Emma Murphy develops a theoretical knowing of the connection among fiscal liberalization and political switch within the Arab international, constructing the concept that of the disarticulation of the corporatist kingdom and concluding that, regardless of efforts at democratization, an authoritarian political method is a much more likely successor within the period of monetary transformation.

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On the other hand, however, the military has over time become more sophisticated in its infiltration of civilian ruling circles. Hosni Mubarak, Hafez alAssad and Zine el Abidine Ben Ali (Tunisia) are prime examples of exmilitary men who have `civilianized' their own images as they have acceded to power while retaining their army power-bases. Nazih Ayubi has pointed out that the reliance of the state upon the military's coercive abilities indicates the weakness of the corporatist state in the Middle East, rather than the strength which is often mistakenly associated with sheer size and scope of state functions.

29 By ensuring that the president retained most of the powers normally vested in political parties, and that the opposition could not develop in a credible and forceful manner, his apparent move to a multi-party system did not mean a reduction in the power of the state. 31 With their preferential access to the president and his coterie of proliberalization advisors and aides, they were able to advance the infitah. Ironically, it was the labour unions and the working classes which opposed the apparent democratization, since the new economic policy was not apparently in their interests and since their only access to power was through the corporatist system headed by the ASU.

Optimists might argue, as Augustus Richard Norton does,58 that prospects are not universally bleak, given that `the new language of politics in the Middle East speaks of participation, cultural authenticity, freedom and even democracy' and that, with new technology and economic openness, regimes can no longer isolate their populations from the trends and desires of peoples elsewhere. SUMMARY A state which can make economic liberalization work sufficiently speedily as to supply a general increase in living standards to offset negative side-effects may be able to contain opposition within a competitive political system without facing real challenges to itself.

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