The megaphone
Tunisians are rallying around Abir Moussi, a demagogue
She’s big on conspiracy theories, short on policies
Middle East & Africa
Apr 17th 2021 edition
Apr 17th 2021
hadija, like many Tunisians, thinks life was better before the revolution that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, a dictator, in 2011. For sure, there is more freedom, but democracy has not brought prosperity. Corruption, inflation and unemployment persist. Khadija, 50, does not have a job. Yet she hopes that Abir Moussi, a politician, will turn Tunisia around. “Moussi speaks for the people,” she says.
Since winning a seat in parliament in 2019, Ms Moussi (pictured) has made a name for herself with her populist outbursts. She claims the revolution was a “plot” by foreign countries—in the past it was “Europeans, Americans and Zionists”, now it is Qatar and Turkey. When not spouting conspiracy theories, she is channelling Tunisians’ nostalgia for the relative order and stability of the Ben Ali era. That has made her quite popular. If elections were held today, polls show her Free Destourian Party (pdl) would come top.
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