The ‘Spark’ That Started it All 

"الشعب يريد إسقاط النظام = The people want to bring down the regime"

Tunisia's “Jasmine Revolution” is the first popular uprising to topple an established government in the Middle East and North Africa since the Iranian revolution of 1979; it’s also the spark that ignited and inspired other Revolutions in the region. It unfolded in three phases: First, on December 17, 2010, a young Tunisian street vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi, set himself on fire in hopelessness and to protest his treatment at the hands of the authorities. Demonstrations broke out in his rural hometown followed by protests in other areas of the country. A brutal security crackdown followed, reported in chocking details by online social media. Second, when protests reached the capital, Tunis, the government responded with even more brutality, arresting demonstrators, activists, and shutting down the Internet. Lastly, the President, Zine el-Abedin Ben Ali, shuffled his cabinet and promised to create 300,000 jobs, but it was too late; protesters now just wanted the regime to fall and its President stripped of any power. On January 14, Ben Ali and his family fled the country taking refuge in Saudi Arabia. This act marked the end of one of the Arab world's most repressive regimes. It was a victory for people power and perhaps the first time ever in history that an Arab dictator has been removed by a revolution rather than a coup d’Etat.



Web Archives

Elections--Post Revolution

Tunisia’s Elections for A Constitutional Assembly, 2011

The campaign for the first elections born of the revolts that swept the Middle East began in Tunisia on Saturday, 1 October. It features 81 political parties (out of more than 115 recognized parties) competing in the elections, making up 785 electoral lists; another 676 lists are composed of independent candidates. They’re competing for 217 seats. It is expected that those elected to a provisional constituent assembly will then have a year to write a constitution outlining how Tunisians will govern themselves before elections for a regular parliament will be held.

♦Tunisian Elections, 2011 (Cornell)

♦IFES Election Guide. Tunisia. Democracy assistance & elections news from the Consortium for Elections and Political Process Strengthening (CEPPS) /  International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES).

Voters Online Guides  (about Candidates and Parties) "Aims to Help Voters Understand Parties, Tunisia's best fixers." A new interactive platform for voters to better know the political parties running for the elections. The web site is designed to address the questions of whom to vote for, why, and how to tell the difference between Tunisia’s numerous political parties.

""Elections 2011 Programs of leading parties. 

"", launched on Sunday (October 2nd), enables Tunisians to present their complaints of malpractice during the electoral campaign and vote counting. The Citizenship Alliance for Elections Monitoring, which comprises associations “My Voice”, “Political Awareness” and Internet Society Tunisie (ISOC), developed the initiative.


ikhtiyo_enIkhtiarTounes New Tool for Undecided Voters

*الجمهورية التونسية :  المجلس الوطني التأسيسي (National Constituent Assembly. Official site)

* المجلس الوطني التأسيسي التونسي (National Constituent Assembly)  In: Europa World online. London, Routledge. [Login--for non-Cornell]

* National Constituent Assembly openin session 22 November, 2011 / المجلس الوطني التأسيسي يفتتح أولى جلساته - تونس - FRANCE 24 تشرين الثاني / 22 (نوفمبر) 2011

*The Tunisian Independent High Authority for the Elections officially announces the final results (Official Announcement/Election Results). The Islamist party Ennahda obtains 41,47 %, securing 89 seats in the 217-member constituent assembly. Furthermore, the Congress for the Republic receives 29 seats, Ettakattol 20 seats and the Progressive Democratic Party 16 seats. One independent list, the People's Petition for Justice, Liberty and Development, obtains 26 seats. The turnout is 86,1%.


*The same day, a presidential decree (Decree 3576-2011) convokes the constituent assembly to hold its first session on November 2011.


*22 November 2011, The Constituent Assembly holds its first session and elects Mustapha Ben Jaafar, the President of the Progressive Democratic Party, as President of the Assembly.  Mr. Ben Jafar’s party ranked fourth in the election, gaining 19 out of the 217 seats of the Constituent Assembly. His election is part of a coalition agreement, signed on 21 November 2011, between his political party, the Islamist moderate party Ennahda, and the Congress for the Republic.

*Tunisia’s new assembly holds “historic” first session Tunisia’s ‘Second Republic’ تونس الجمهورية الثانية

*Tunisia Elects New Interim President (December 12, 2011)

*Writing Constitutions After the Arab Spring (Foreign Affairs)

*Final report on the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly elections : October 23, 2011. Washington, DC : National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, 2011. 32 p., PDF file. On oct. 23, 2011, tunisians voted in an election that held profound consequences for the future of their country and the broader region. Nine months after toppling an authoritarian leader and in a country with little democratic experience, citizens waited for hours in line at polling stations to elect members of a constituent assembly that would be tasked with forming a new interim government and writing a new constitution.

*Tunisie: Une presse libre se prépare aux élections / Institute for War & Peace Reporting. 1 Apr 201. En soi, le journalisme en temps d’élection n’est pas différent d’autres formes de journalisme – toutefois, pendant les campagnes électorales, les médias comme les politiciens sont observés d’encore plus près, car le monde politique et le public en général suivent les informations avec plus d’attention. Les reportages sont observés de près pour y déceler – ou pas – biais, distorsions et inexactitudes.

*Democracy, women’s rights, and public opinion in Tunisia  / Robert Brym & Robert Andersen. The Arab Spring demonstrated that public opinion can powerfully affect the region’s political life. Tunisia is particularly important in this regard; it is the Arab country where democracy has taken firmest root and is therefore of enormous geopolitical significance insofar as it can serve as a model for other countries in the region. This article assesses the state of Tunisian democracy using data from a 2015 survey of 1580 Tunisian adults.

Subject Headings (Search Terms in the Online Catalog)


You can search the online Library Catalog to find books, journals (in print and digital), databases, DVDs, CDs and more in all campus libraries and beyond. It would be helpful to think about which search terms will be effective and structure a search that the Library tools can understand.  The following are examples of subject search terms (Subject Headings) used for research topic:

  • Tunisia - History - Revolution, 2011
  • Tunisia - History - Demonstrations, 2010-
  • Bin ʻAlī, Zayn al-ʻĀbidīn - Resignation from office
  • Bouazizi, Mohamed, 1984-2011
  • Crises - Tunisia - Politics and government - 21st century
  • Democratization - Tunisia - 21st Century
  • Protest movements - Tunisia - 21st Century
  • Revolutions - Tunisia - History - 21st century
  • Tunisia - Politics and Government - 21st Century
  • Online social networks - Political aspects – Tunisia
  • Social networks - Political aspects – Tunisia
  • Twitter - Political aspects – Tunisia
  • Arab countries - History - Arab Spring, 2011
  • Arab countries - Politics and government - 21st century
  • Protest movements - Arab countries - 21st century
  • Revolutions - Arab countries
  • Revolutions - Arab countries - 21st century
  • Government, Resistance to - Arab countries - History - 21st century
  • Democratization - Middle East - History - 21st century

Keyword Search Terms & Phrases

You can also start with a general keyword search. The following are suggested Keyword Search Terms (may be also useful as Internet Search Terms and phrases)

  • Tunisia's Jasmine Revolution 
  • Jasmine Revolution
  • Tunisian uprising
  • Pro-Democracy Movements in Tunisia
  • Revolution in Tunisia
  • “Arab Spring" Tunisia

Background, Timelines and Maps

Documents & Electronic Texts

Audiovisuals & Multimedia

  • In Tunisia, an 'Explosion of Frustration' in Protests JUDY WOODRUFF: Late today, President Obama condemned and deplored the use of violence against citizens peacefully voicing their opinion in Tunisia. In a statement released by the White House, the president said, "The United States stands witness to the Tunisian people seeking to make their voices heard." He called upon the Tunisian government to hold free and fair elections in the near future. (Also transcript).
  • Post-Revolution Tunisia Attempts Painful Transition to Democracy The PBS NewsHour (Feb. 15, 2012) One year after the revolution that sparked the Arab Spring, Tunisia faces ongoing economic and political struggles as it attempts a painful transition to democracy. Jessie Deeter reports, as part of a collaboration with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. (Also transcript).
  • After Censorship, Tunisian Bookseller Faces Dilemma. National Public Radio®. All Things Considered. June 8, 2012.  "The tables have turned for one bookshop owner in Tunis, who had to operate under censorship during the dictatorship of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. After having to fight for decades to sell the books she wanted, there is now one volume she doesn't particularly want on her shelves. The former dictator's hated wife, Leila Trabelsi, has come out with her version of the facts, called My Truth." Listen to the Story.
  • Supporting the challenges of democratic transition in Tunisia: a call for prompt action from the G8 / Rym Ayadi. [PDF, 3 p.] At the G8 meeting in Deauville, May 26-27, the leaders of the world's major economies are called upon in a new CEPS Commentary by Rym Ayadi to make a major commitment to support the Tunisian people's quest for inclusive and sustainable economic and social development, following the Jasmine Revolution early this year.--Publisher description.
  • Security sector reform in Tunisia : a year after the Jasmine Revolution /  Querine Hanlon.  Washington, DC :  U.S. Institute of Peace, 2012. The U.S. Institute of Peace Security Sector Governance Center is engaged in a funded study of the prospects for security sector reform in North Africa. In January 2012, Querine Hanlon, Daniel Brumberg, and Robert Perito traveled to Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. This report is the first in a series of country-focused reports on security sector reform in North Africa.
  • Can Tunisia spark a revolutionary wave? /  Deborah Jerome. New York, NY :  Council on Foreign Relations,  January 18, 2011. "The overthrow of Tunisia's government last week in what has been dubbed a Jasmine Revolution has reverberated throughout the region and has left Tunisia itself in a state of political turbulence. In the wake of the ouster of Tunisian President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali are two questions: Is Tunisia's example likely to spark comparable uprisings across the Arab world? And will democracy take root in Tunisia?"--Web page.
  • A Transatlantic Strategy for a Democratic Tunisia - Atlantic Council  / by Frances G. Burwell, Amy Hawthorne, Karim Mezran, and Elissa Miller. Jun 1, 2016 (27 pages)