Hager Ali

Defense Against Small Parties: Electoral Reforms and their Impact on Tunisia's Electoral System since the Arab Spring

Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft | 2022

  • Abstract

    Tunisia's political system suffers from recurrent problems with govern-ability and proportionality. A volatile party landscape, frequent cabinet reshuffles, and political gridlocks repeatedly jeopardized stability and democratic progress since the Arab Spring. Major and minor electoral reforms were undertaken in 2014, 2017, 2019, and 2022, but they were unable to diffuse either of these issues. This analysis is therefore driven by two central questions: How have Tunisia's electoral laws changed since the Arab Spring? And why have these reforms failed to improve both govern-ability and proportionality? It will be argued that because Tunisia's party landscape is fractured and volatile only on the secularist side of the spectrum, coalitions with and against Ennahda are costly to all parties involved, worsening the overall quality of political representation. By analyzing the trajectory of major and minor electoral reforms longitudinally, this paper finds that Tunisia's electoral reforms incremen-tally restricted the electoral system by limiting parties' and candidates' capacity to compete in elections. Through modifying legislation on campaign finance and subsidies , gender parity, and candidacy requirements, and finally abolishing Tunisia's closed list PR-system in 2022, reforms benefit established older parties and wealthier candidates while fortifying the electoral system against newer and less wealthy contenders. Tunisia's electoral reforms are inadequate in addressing governability and proportionality because restricting electoral competition alone cannot improve the quality of representation through political parties.


    Zeitschrift für Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft







    Entrenching Military Power through Constitutions: Introducing the REPEAL Database

    Elgar Encyclopedias in Sociology Series | 12/2023


    In this book chapter, Matthijs Bogaards (Central European University) and Hager Ali (GIGA) review the literature on factionalism and factions in political parties as well as other organizations.


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