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Yearbook 2018

Tunisia. In January, protests erupted in raising the price of several basic commodities. In addition, the government had announced increases in VAT and social security contributions. Peaceful demonstrations developed into violent actions that cost at least one person's life. According to, about 50 police officers were injured in operations when several hundred people were arrested. The unrest prompted President Beji Caid Essebsi to convene meetings with political parties, the Utica employers' union and the UGTT trade union movement. This resulted in promises of increased contributions to poor families and social reforms, such as public health care and housing for vulnerable people. According to the Minister of Social Affairs, the government had laid the foundation for several of the reforms much earlier.

2018 Tunisia

Later in January it was announced that two Algerian leaders within the al-Qaeda terrorist organization in Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) were killed by Tunisian security forces in a mountain area in western Tunisia. One of them was Bilel Kobi, who had been wanted in his home country since 1993. In the same month, Tunisia was removed from the EU's black list of tax havens since the country promised to adapt to EU tax and financial legislation. The list was established in December 2017.

In May, local elections were held for the first time since the so-called Jasmin Revolution in 2011. Election was low, just over 30%. The largest party was the Islamist Pan-Nativity (Ennahda), with about 29% of the vote, and the call for Tunisia (Nidaa Tounes) was second largest with 21%. As many as 32% of voters cast their votes on an independent candidate.

In July, for the first time, a woman was appointed to the post of Mayor of Tunis. Soaud Abderrahim from Peanut Birth was elected by the members of the capital's council. The vote was boycotted by the central and left parties. In several other Tunisian cities, women were also elected mayors.

In August, a demonstration was held with conservative signs. Participants objected to proposals to give women equal rights of inheritance and to decriminalize homosexuality. In October, Parliament passed a law banning discrimination and racist statements. The proposed and implemented legislative changes were part of the alignment with the Constitution, which was adopted in 2014.

In June, more than 50 people drowned when a refugee ship crashed off the coast of Tunisia. The accident was one of the worst in the Mediterranean this year. Of the 180 on board, 68 people were rescued. In August, police stopped another ship with migrants on their way out of the city of Sfax. In the hot situation that arose, someone lit a fire on the ship. At least eight people were killed. The effort was one of many where people were prevented from trying to cross the Mediterranean towards Europe. In the first half of the year, 2,600 migrants were arrested.

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