Drawing on Levitsky and Way’s model, this chapter offers a sophisticated assessment of Tunisia’s political liberalisation. Of all the region’s countries, it alone emerged from the Arab Spring significantly more democratic than when the protests began. Ostensibly, Levitsky and Way’s model can account for this outcome. Not only did does Tunisia have high linkage to the EU and US, but the West has high leverage over it. In such circumstances, the Ben Ali regime’s high organisational power is of secondary importance. Yet this being the case, why did he remain in office for so long? The chapter argues that the EU and US consistently failed to put as much democratising pressure on him as they could have done, and that the regime’s organisational strength was not as great as it seemed owing to the persistent alienation of the country’s armed forces.
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