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Tunisia

1. Openness To, and Restrictions Upon, Foreign Investment

6. Financial Sector

10. Political and Security Environment

President Kais Saied was elected in the aftermath of presidential and parliamentary elections held in September and October 2019, the country’s first elections since its post-revolution constitution was ratified in 2014, which were widely regarded as well-executed and credible.  The transition of power was smooth and without incident, following a clear procedure outlined by the 2014 constitution.

In the 10 years since the revolution, Tunisia has made significant progress in the areas of civil society and rights-based reforms, but economic indicators continue to lag and have been a major driver of frequent protests.  Public opinion polls indicated that corruption, poor economic conditions, and persistently high unemployment fuel public discontent with the political class.

On July 25, citing widespread protests and political paralysis, President Saied took “exceptional measures” under Article 80 of the constitution to dismiss Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi, freeze parliament’s activities for 30 days, and lift the immunity of members of parliament. On August 23, Saied announced an indefinite extension of the “exceptional measures” period and on September 22, he issued a decree granting the president certain executive, legislative, and judiciary powers and authority to rule by decree, but allowed continued implementation of the preamble and chapters one and two, which guarantee rights and freedoms. Civil society organizations and multiple political parties raised concern that through these decrees President Saied granted himself unprecedented decision-making powers, without checks and balances and for an unlimited period. On September 29, Saied named Najla Bouden Romdhane as prime minister, and on October 11, she formed a government. On December 13, Saied announced a timeline for constitutional reforms including public consultations and the establishment of a committee to revise the constitution and electoral laws, leading to a national referendum in July 2022. Parliamentary elections would follow in December 2022. On March 30, President Saied issued a decree formally dissolving Parliament.

Terrorist groups continue to operate in the mountains of Western Tunisia and developments in Libya continue to affect the security situation along the Tunisian-Libyan border. Extremist groups, including ISIS affiliates, operate and recruit in the country’s interior, particularly in disadvantaged regions. Tunisia has been under a State of Emergency since November 24, 2015, following two major terrorist attacks that targeted tourism destinations. Under the state of emergency, security forces have more authority to maintain civil order, enabling the government to focus on combating terrorism. Despite COVID-19 and economic challenges that affect national resources, Tunisia continues to demonstrate consistent security force readiness to combat security threats. There have been no terrorist attacks targeting tourists or other western interests since June 2015. Extremist elements continue to target police and military forces in suspected “lone wolf” attacks, including in front of the U.S. Embassy on March 6, 2020, and more recently in November 2021 at the Ministry of Interior in downtown Tunis. Travelers are urged to visit www.travel.state.gov for the latest travel alerts and warnings regarding Tunisia.

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U.S. Department of State

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