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Tunisia tops freedom index in Arab world

A Tunisians woman wears a national flag during a demonstration to mark Tunisia's Women's Day and to demand equal inheritance rights between men and women on August 13, 2018, in the capital Tunis [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]
A Tunisians woman wears a national flag during a demonstration to mark Tunisia's Women's Day and to demand equal inheritance rights between men and women on August 13, 2018, in the capital Tunis [FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images]

Tunisia has been ranked top of the freedom index in the Arab world in 2018.

Tunisia – which ignited the Arab Spring in 2011 – was described by US NGO Freedom House as the only Arab county which is free, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported yesterday.

Freedom House’s report stated that “since ousting a long-time autocrat [Zine El Abidine Ben Ali] from power in 2011, Tunisia has been transitioning to democracy,” adding: “Citizens enjoy unprecedented political rights and civil liberties.”

However, the report also qualified that “the influence of old regime officials, endemic corruption, economic challenges and security threats remain obstacles to full democratic consolidation” in Tunisia.

Freedom House also stated that the country’s “political rights” rating had decreased because “municipal elections were once again postponed, leaving unelected councils in place seven years after the revolution”.

Another reason which caused Tunisia’s rating to decrease, the report said, was that “figures associated with the old regime increased their influence over the vulnerable political system, for example by securing passage of a new amnesty law, despite strong public opposition”.

The report added: “The extension of a two-year-old state of emergency also signalled the erosion of democratic order in Tunisia.”

Read: Tunisia extends state of emergency for a month

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