Despite a reputation for political neutrality and professionalism, the Tunisian armed forces have played a crucial role in President Kais Saied’s July 2021 closure of parliament and subsequent power grab. It did not have to be this way: In 2011, the military helped to facilitate the very democratic transition Saied’s actions destroyed. This article argues that the generals’ change of heart may be due to political and resource demands: They seek a strong leader to help consolidate political and resource gains made in the past decade. Saied and the armed forces have strong incentives to stick together and entrench their power, rendering a quick democratic restoration in Tunisia unlikely.
Coup in Tunisia: Why the Military Abandoned Democracy
Issue Date January 2022
Page Numbers 27–39