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Stefano Maria Torelli


Beyond Uncritical Optimism: The Challenges for Transitional Tunisia

[Campaign posters on display in Tunis during the 2011 elections. Image by Tarek/Flickr]

Tunisia will go to the polls on 26 October in order to decide the composition of the new parliament and the new political balance that will determine the next phases of political transition. Since the uprising, there have been many and important steps toward real political and institutional change. Indeed, Tunisia has undergone a process of policy change involving the liberalization of political landscape, the subsequent participation of new political forces in the electoral ...

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Tunisia: Foreign Policy Turns as Short-term Economic Strategy

[Tunisian Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa met with US President Barack Obama in April 2014. Photo courtesy of VoaNews.]

In the intricate network of bilateral and regional relations involving countries in the Middle East and the Maghreb, and in the cross-diatribes between Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Egypt, and other non-state actors, Tunisia is slowly trying to diversify its foreign policy vectors. As Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa is conducting its first visit to Paris, it appears that the previous visit to Washington had been even more important. Jomaa’s visit to the United States between 2 and 4 April ...

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Tunisia: A New Prime Minister for Old Politics?

[In this 7 November 2013 photo, Mehdi Jomaa answers questions during a press meeting held in Tunis, Tunisia. A forum of political parties chose the industry minister as Tunisia's next prime minister, set to replace the Islamist-led government with technocrats in what's been a faltering transition to democracy. Jomaa, a fifty-year-old independent who had abandoned a career in the private sector, won the vote to head a transition government after weeks of contentious debate by twenty-one political parties, dubbed the

The weeks-long negotiations over the appointment of a new Prime Minister who will be charged with forming a transitional government that will guide Tunisia to the next election has finally produced a result. On Sunday, the political forces and the so-called quartet lead by the influential Tunisian labor union, Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (UGTT) as a mediating force between the parties, has announced the name of the person in charge of forming a new government. Mehdi ...

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Political Violence Threatens the Tunisian Experiment

[Tunisians march as Mohamed Brahmi's body is escorted to El Ghazella. Image by Lilia Blaise/Nawaat.]

The murder of Mohamed Brahmi, one of the leaders of the People's Movement Party - part of the opposition coalition Popular Front - and a member of the National Constituent Assembly (NCA), is the last act of political violence just in the middle of the Tunisian democratic transition’s path. The killing, which occurred with the same modalities of Chokri Belaid’s on 6 February, took place on a special day for Tunisia. Indeed, it was a national holiday, the anniversary of the ...

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Stefano Maria Torelli


Stefano Maria Torelli, Ph.D. in History of International Relations, is Research Fellow at the Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) and a member of the Italian Centre for the Stydy of Political Islam. His research topics include Middle Eastern studies, Political Islam (especially in Tunisia and Turkey) and International Relations. He is a teaching assistant in History and Institutions of the Islamic Countries at the University of Milan and a regular contributor to the magazine of the main Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Sera. He has published articles and essays on international academic reviews and think tanks, such as Middle East Policy, Insight Turkey, and The Jamestown Foundation's Terrorism Monitor. He tweets @mideastorels.