Transitions in Tunisia and Egypt - What Does the Future Hold?

21 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2013 Last revised: 17 Jan 2013

See all articles by Ryan Suto

Ryan Suto

Pennsylvania State University; Syracuse University

Date Written: May 4, 2012


In January 2011 protesters in Tunisia forced out long-time dictator Ben Ali. Egypt’s Mubarak was soon to follow. In this paper I outline the transitions of both states - looking specifically at elites, institutions, and civil society. I discuss democratization literature in the context of both states and their likely futures. I conclude that the most significant difference between Tunisia and Egypt are elites - and that such a difference is sufficient to present differing predictions. Tunisia has a better chance of democratization than Egypt because her elites have formed consensus around both democracy and secular governance, whereas Egypt’s have yet to do so and show little promise of such consensus in the near future.

Keywords: Tunisia, Egypt, transitions, North Africa, democratization

Suggested Citation

Suto, Ryan, Transitions in Tunisia and Egypt - What Does the Future Hold? (May 4, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Ryan Suto (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

Syracuse University ( email )

900 S. Crouse Avenue
Syracuse, NY 13244-2130
United States

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