A decade after the folks in Thala celebrated their first free and democratic election, all power in Tunisia has become centralized in the hands of President Kais Saied. Yet, paradoxically, Thala’s election organizers were not sad to see the Parliament go. It seems to be a testament to the widely perceived notion that what had manifested after the small successes of the Arab Spring was, in effect, a corrupt and ineffective Parliament, which hadn’t made a difference in people’s everyday lives.
As the gardening solution has done nothing to significantly reduce the problem of unemployment, so has it failed in its mission to buy social peace. Thousands of unemployed continue to protest in these regions, and industrial activity continues to be interrupted; even those with phantom jobs are getting restless.