As reported by various sources, the Tunisian government has decided to extend the current state of emergency at least until the end of this month (April2012). While the extension was expected, what seems interesting is that officials cited current social tensions as the main factor for extending it.
Another way to see it is that whereas the Tunisian government feels that the security situation is improving, they are understandably concerned about the division among ultra conservative Islamists and “secularists”. Basically, by extending the current state of emergency and publicly stating their concerns the government is taking a “expect the best…plan for the worst” approach.
If one takes a step back and looks at the big picture, one can easily see that this approach makes sense.
To extend or not to extend?
A few of the most recent incidents is enough to make this point:
- Mosque Offensive: Tunisia’s Religious Affairs Minster Nourredine al-Khademi on Saturday said the country will take stock of the hundreds of mosques now in the hands of Salafist extremists.
- Unwanted Returns: As a good report described it: “The situation could become even more incandescent with the continuing confrontations between Islamic fundamentalists and secularists, which only by chance have not yet led to a drama.
- Constitution Work in Progress: The debate over the new constitution is just beginning and we are sure to see many positives as well as challenges ahead.
Impact on Expats
How does the extension impact Expats…? The short answer is that nothing has really changed but…it is a good time to remember that there is a State of Emergency in place which means that “curfews or other temporary movement restrictions may be imposed or changed with little or no notice.”
We certainly hope that the beautiful weather continues to extend and look forward to discovering more optimistic information about the security situation in Tunisia.