In some corners, Tunisians yearn for Ben Ali’s rule — not out of any fondness for authoritarianism, but because it was the last time many felt a sense of stability, even though it was imposed by repression and surveillance.

“The Ben Ali era has come to signify an idealized past of ‘security’ and ‘stability’ that Tunisians are yearning for,” said Myriam Amri, a Tunisia scholar at Harvard University’s Center for Middle East Studies. 

Such nostalgia for the Ben Ali regime underscores the challenges Tunisia’s next president will face. Since the revolution — which forced Ben Ali to flee the…

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