More than two years after the Jasmine Revolution, nearly three quarters of Tunisians are dissatisfied with how democracy is working, according to a new survey by the Pew Research Center. Tunisians are especially critical of their political leaders. Only one out of seven of the country’s top leaders, former Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali, received a favorable rating. About half of the 1,000 Tunisians polled thought the country is worse off after the revolution.
Both secular and Islamist political parties suffered declines in popularity. The rating for Ennahda, the moderate Islamist party and coalition leader, has declined 25 percentage points over the last year. But a majority of Tunisians expressed a desire for Islam to influence politics. Nearly 90 percent of those polled thought laws should either strictly follow the Quran or follow the principles of Islam. The following are excerpts with a link to the full report at the end.

      Tunisians are particularly critical of their country’s current political leadership. Less than half (44%) view interim president Moncef Marzouki favorably. Just over a third (37%) see President of the Constituent Assembly and Ettakatol party leader, Mustapha Ben Jaafar, in a positive light, and his support is down 21 percentage points since 2012.

      Tunisia’s political parties also receive low marks, with more people generally viewing the parties unfavorably than favorably. The leading moderate Islamist party, Ennahda, is the most popular, but only four-in-ten Tunisians view it favorably. Ennahda’s support has dropped significantly since last year, however, when nearly two-thirds of all Tunisians (65%) viewed the party in a positive light, a decline of 25 percentage points. Religious Tunisians are more likely to support Ennahda: those who pray five times a day (45%) and who believe laws should strictly follow the Quran (53%) are more supportive of the party than those who pray less (29%) and believe laws should be decided separately from Quranic teachings (34%).


      Tunisians’ disenchantment with the way their new democracy is working has eroded democratic sentiments. Fully 72% say they are dissatisfied with the way democracy is working. And, while more than half of Tunisians (54%) continue to say they prefer democracy over other forms of government, these democratic leanings have dropped by nine points in the last year.

      Nonetheless, broad majorities still prioritize key democratic principles and institutions. At least six-in-ten say that a fair judiciary, competitive elections, an uncensored media, equal rights for women, and free speech are very important for the country’s future. More than half also think it is high priority for religious parties to be able to participate in politics. Overall, there has been minimal change in the past year in the value Tunisians place on these democratic principles.


      Tunisians continue to want Islam to play a role in politics, despite the declining popularity of the ruling Islamist Ennahda party. Most think Tunisian laws should either strictly follow the Quran (29%) or follow the principles of Islam, but not strictly follow the Quran (59%). Few say the Quran should have no influence over their legal system. There has been little change in such sentiment in the past year.

      In addition, today, more than half of the public (54%) says that religious leaders should have at least some influence in political matters. However, a considerable minority (41%) prefer religious leaders to have little or no role in politics.

Click here for the full report.