On the 25th of July, 2021, the Tunisian president Kais Saied dissolved the cabinet and froze the parliament. These decisions were the first among a series of ensuing measures which curtailed the progression of the nascent Tunisian democracy. This thesis aims to unfold the causes underlying Tunisia’s current democratic regression. It finds that the interplay between institutional, economic, regional and international factors represented an immense challenge to Tunisian democracy. By situating theories of democratic backsliding in the context of the Arab region, the thesis argues that institutional lacunas, military professionalism, expansion of corruption networks and dynamics of regional rivalry have detrimental effects on democratic consolidation. These variables lead to popular disenchantment with democracy and hence pave the way for democratic regression.


School of Global Affairs and Public Policy


Middle East Studies Center

Degree Name

MA in Middle East Studies

Graduation Date

Spring 2-2-2023

Submission Date


First Advisor

Nadine Sika

Committee Member 1

Sean Lee

Committee Member 2

Noura Wahby


134 p.

Document Type

Master's Thesis

Institutional Review Board (IRB) Approval

Not necessary for this item