What happened within and beyond Tunisia in 2010–11 has been told repeatedly from a number of perspectives, each putting a greater or a lesser emphasis on one or several variables ranging from society, politics, economics, to religion or the involvement of external dynamics. An exploration of the causes of the Arab Spring and the factors that shaped its outcome is critical when answering several frequently raised questions, some of which are highlighted here. This article provides a concise picture of the Arab Spring and its consequences for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). It defines the meaning of revolution by examining various explanations and interpretations provided by several theorists and shows which explanation(s) best fits the Tunisian case. Moreover, the study explains how multiple factors, such as social and economic injustice, authoritarian rule, the internet, and social media have played a role in enabling the Tunisian Revolution to happen.
The year 2011 witnessed watershed events in the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), resulting in long-awaited political and social transformation, with Tunisia acting as catalyst and modus operandi for the other countries of the region. Although the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ now seems to be gripped in a stalemate in Egypt, where vagueness still prevails, and in Syria and Libya, where the security situation continues to be extremely precarious and unstable, there seems to be a wind of change in the political context in Tunisia, where on 26 October 2014 the population witnessed the second post-revolution elections. The political party Ḥizb al-Nahḍah (Renaissance Party), officially founded in 1981, has been having a considerable impact on the political milieu of the region since its political career has experienced a renewed boost. Furthermore, Salafism has emerged as a legitimate force in the country demanding al-Nahḍah to redefine its role and strategy. While in power al-Nahḍah faced multifarious political, social and economic challenges that compelled it to devise new strategies and policies to suit the changing socio-political climate. In addition to exploring post-revolution transitions and transformations in Tunisia, this paper focuses on Ḥizb al-Nahḍah, the issues and challenges it encountered while in power, and those that lie ahead.