100 Day Poll Shows Growing Discontent with Government Performance

By Asma Ghribi | Apr 4 2012 Share on Linkedin Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Share on pinterest Print

Tags: Al Maghreb ,economic situation ,Ennahdha ,HafedH Ben Abdenbi ,inflation ,

SIGMA Conseil in conjunction with Tunisian daily Al Maghreb conducted an opinion poll between March 29th and April 1st to assess the performance of the interim government in its first 100 days. The current government, which took over last December 23rd, is led by Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali of the Islamist party Ennahdha. Besides Ennahdha, the ruling coalition encompasses members from two other parties, namely Ettakatol and Congress for the Republic that are both center-left and independent.

Al Maghreb pointed out that in democratic countries citizens tend to wait 100 days before they evaluate the government˜s performance. Tunisia's case is different as this current government's mandate ranges only from one year to 18 months. The initial period of 100 days is thus significant given the government's short term in office.

The figures from the poll show widespread public discontent over the performance of the government in key issues like corruption, unemployment, and inflation. 85.8% of Tunisians think that the government failed to alleviate the problem of unemployment and 90.1% consider the government unsuccessful when addressing inflation.

Since financial corruption and bribery have historically been commonplace in the country’s administrative system, the new government has charged special authorities with the task of undertaking administrative reform and eradicating corruption. Still, 75% of Tunisians find that the current government failed in fighting these deeply-rooted phenomena.

Do you think that the government succeeded in fighting corruption and bribery in the first 100 days?
All data from SIGMA Conseil

Samir Dilou, a spokesperson for the government, commented that when assessing the government, several external factors should be taken into account. We took over when Tunisia was going through a wave of strikes and protests. People were demonstrating since the very first day of this government. Actually, they had started protesting even before the ministers saw their offices, he maintained.

Dilou expressed that the results might be revealing. They might be signs reflecting the situation of the country. But at the same time, we don't have any details about the way this poll was conducted. Unlike Europe and developed countries, in Tunisia we might be lacking the effective resources to conduct an accurate opinion poll, he said.

Dilou said that Tunisians should be realistic when setting their expectations for any government. We understand the demands of the people, but at the same time they have to understand that we were working in exceptional conditions. We were under pressure, he added.

Inflation is a deepening problem in Tunisia as the prices of foodstuffs are fluctuating. Middle-class Tunisians, who make up the majority of society, are constantly complaining about prices. The Tunisian Consumer Protection Organization has recently launched a campaign to boycott red meat for two days in an attempt to express their discontent with rising costs. Dilou stated that the government is striving to control the prices and limit inflation. The Ministry of Agriculture announced that Tunisia is not suffering from any shortage of agricultural products, he added in order to dispel the notion that rising inflation is a result of a scarce supply of foodstuffs.

Do you think that the government succeeded in controlling inflation in the first 100 days?
All data from SIGMA Conseil

In the same vein, Hafedh Ben Abdenebi, a professor of economic sciences at the University of Carthage, stressed that Tunisia went through a very difficult situation. The floods that happened in many agricultural regions along with other factors like speculators are certainly affecting the prices of foodstuff in Tunisia, he explained.

In regards to the general situation of the country, Ben Abdenebi said that Tunisia is still economically paralyzed, pointing out that the lack of experience of the members of the current government is a key factor, which led them to fight the wrong battles. They should have started with the priorities of the country. They should not have entangled themselves in issues like freedom of press, appointment of directors and governors. They should have focused on managing the crisis. Creating jobs cannot be done in 100 days, he said.

Do you think that the government succeeded in creating jobs in the first 100 days?
All data from SIGMA Conseil

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