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Opinion
Bobby Ghosh

Tunisia’s Democracy Is Collapsing. Biden Shouldn’t Just Stand By.

The US could use economic leverage to press for democratic reforms. For now, all it has offered is faint criticism of the North African nation’s shabby constitutional referendum.

Tunisia’s Kais Saied.

Tunisia’s Kais Saied.

Photographer: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu/Bloomberg

On the day Tunisia’s democracy died, it fell to a State Department spokesperson to deliver the Biden administration’s mealy-mouthed pieties. Asked about the July 25 constitutional referendum that allowed President Kais Saied to institutionalize one-man rule in the North African nation, Ned Price offered the following observations (italics mine):

Note the absence of any direct criticism of the man who has garroted the Arab world’s most promising democracy. Instead of calling out Saied for his appropriation of near-absolute authority, the Biden administration once again failed to live up to its own billing as a defender of democracy.