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The New Arab

A timeline for Tunisia's revolution

Date of publication: 13 January, 2015

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From the self-immolation of Mohamed Bouazizi, though the flight of Ben Ali, to the election of Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia started the Arab Spring. It is so far the only country to have come close to completing it.

Below is a brief and select chronology of the Tunisian revolution. 14 January marks the date four years ago when former dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled Tunisia and a new era dawned in the country that gave birth to the Arab Spring.

17 December 2010: Mohamed Bouazizi, a street peddlar from Sidi Bouaziz, sets himself on fire after a dispute with local authorities. Protests spread in his hometown within hours.

24 December, 2010: Bouziane witnesses the first fatality of the revolution when a protestor is shot and killed by police.

27 December, 2010: Protests spread to Tunis

28 December 2010: Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, the Tunisian president, visits Bouazizi in hospital. It has no effect on demonstrations, which continue to grow.

4 January, 2011: Bouazizi dies in hospital

14 January 2011: Ben Ali leaves the country after transferring his authorities to the prime minister, Mohamed Ghannouchi. Around the same time, Tunisia witnesses what became known as the ‘wave of snipers’ who targeted people in various locations throughout Tunisia as the old regime crumbled.

23 January 2011 - 20 February 2011:
Tunisians stage demonstrations in al-Qasaba square twice; on 23 January to demand the departure of Ghannouchi, who announced his resignation on 27 February. A second demo on 20 February demanded the formation of a constituent assembly.

March 2011: The Higher Authority for the Realisation of the Objectives of the Revolution, Political Reform and Democratic Transition was created through the merger of various political factions. It was headed by Yadh Ben Achour.


23 October 2011: The Constituent Assembly was elected and was given a deadline of a year to write a new consitution. Consisting of 217 lawmakers, the majority of seats were won by the Islammist Ennahdha movement. Ennahdha agreed with the Congress for the Republic party and Ettakatol to divide the leading positions in the country between them. Ettaktol’s Mustafa Ben Jafar was appointed as president of the constituent assembly, CPR’s Moncef Marzouki as interim president of the repulic and Ennahdha’s Hamadi Jabali as prime minister.

6 February 2013: The assassination of left-winger Chokri Belaid triggered a series of protests throughout Tunisia which threatened the country's stability. Jabali resigned his position as prime minister which allowed the formation of a new government also headed by Ennahdha with Ali Laarayedh as prime minister. Ali Laarayedh remained in office until Mehdi Jomaa was chosen as an interim prime minister following the assassination of Mohamed Brahimi, a member of the constituent assembly. The assassination of Brahimi inspired the formation of the National Salvation Front, which played the role of opposition to the interim government.

17 July 2014: 14 soldiers are killed in a terrorist attack on mount Chaambi near the borders with Algeria. The attack was perpetrated by fundamentalist groups that declared their intention to target the entire democ​ratic transition which had led to a new wave of tensions in the country.

26 October, 2014: Tunisia's first free parliamentary elections are won by new poltiical bloc, Nidaa Tounes, made up of secularists and led by an octogenarian former minister under the regimes of both Habib Bourghuiba and Ben Ali, Beji Caid Essebsi. 

22 December 2014: Essebsi is declared the winner of the Tunisia's first free presidential elections, after a second-round run-off with the incumbent, Moncef Marzouki. Demonstrations in southern areas of Tunisia against the results threatened renewed tensions, but Marzouki’s request for the calm during the transition of power was ultimately respected.

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