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Diplomatic Sarabande in Tunisia

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LETTER FROM MAGHREB. We rush to the bedside of the former democracy on the verge of “collapse”, in the words of the European Union. But can you save a country against its will?





By Benoit Delmas

Several European leaders have sounded the alarm on the crisis that the country is going through, since the authoritarian turn imposed by President Kaïs Saïed and the risks it poses for Europe.
© JOHN THYS / AFP

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AT the origin, a crazy story. In the grip of economic difficulties XXXL, a government negotiates for eight months to obtain an aid plan from the IMF (1.9 billion dollars). Classic in times of crisis. What is part of the story of “mabouls” (“crazy”, in Arabic), is that the president – who appointed this government and let it negotiate with the IMF – ultimately disdains to sign the letter of commitment to the IMF. The government is in the Kasbah, the president in Carthage, the IMF in Washington. The problem of this crazy story could be limited to the perimeter of the “madhouse”, but what is happening in Tunisia also concerns part of the Mediterranean, southern Europe and North Africa.

In 2011, in the wake of the revolution, Tunis had become “the…


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