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Beyond headline news which often focuses on the Salafists, one key player, the trade union, is gaining power by stealth. UGTT’s deteriorating relations with the government could greatly influence the outcome of next June’s elections. Amnesty International warns that progress on human rights in Tunisia is “being reversed” in a report last October. Although Tunisian Islamists were the enemies most directly target under Ben Ali, many liberals and UGTT members suffered badly during his 23 year old rule. Tunisia’s economy is mismanaged and drifting. Average growth of 4.5% since 2000 is not enough to absorb new entrants into the job market.
Francis Ghilès, Senior Researcher, CIDOB, 5-XII-12