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Tunisian protesters get seven-year itch

The austerity measures announced by the Tunisian government as part of this year's budget seem to be targeting the most vulnerable groups in society, including the middle class and the poor.

In psychology, the seven-year itch refers to declining happiness seven years into a romantic relationship. Dissatisfaction and resentment build up; seven years is the median breaking point. It might just be coincidence that Tunisians are becoming disenchanted and frustrated with their revolution that saw the successful overthrow of dictator Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. But the revolution, which initially broke out over economic frustrations, seems to have come full circle: Tens of thousands of Tunisians have taken to the streets across the country to protest any lack of economic progress.

In early December 2017, the Center for Insights in Survey Research and ELKA Consulting updated their statistics on Tunisian attitudes toward the economy, governance and democracy. The survey, conducted over the past six years, shows a clear frustration: When asked what is the single biggest problem facing Tunisia, 42% of respondents in 2017 answered the economy. Only two years earlier, 11% thought the same. In 2017, 68% of respondents categorized the Tunisian economy as “very bad,” while only 20% categorized it as such in 2011.

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