The “former” economic elites and the change of regime in Tunisia: On the uncertainty surrounding the political and economic consolidation of positions

By Bilel Kchouk

The economic elites of Ben Ali’s regime were organically linked to his clan and his system of political domination. Despite the decapitation and then the implosion of such a system, these actors were able to save their positions and assets. This research focuses on the strategies and mechanisms that enabled the survival and replacement of these elites. Based on a series of interviews with strategic players from the two successive regimes, this article shows that it was by combining a wait-and-see strategy during the crisis, the seizure of new economic opportunities and a post-Ben Ali political entryism that his economic elites were able to survive the change of regime and, above all, to position themselves as pivotal actors.


  • Tunisia
  • political crisis
  • elites
  • democratic transition
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