Baker Institute expert available to comment on Tunisia’s first municipal elections


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Baker Institute expert available to comment on Tunisia’s first municipal elections

HOUSTON – (May 4, 2018) – For the first time, Tunisia will hold municipal elections May 6, and these elections will also be the first of their kind in North Africa. The polls will give remote corners of the country representation for the first time and include diversity quotas for female, young and disabled candidates.

Credit: University

A.Kadir Yildirim, fellow for the Middle East at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy, is available to discuss with the media the elections and their ramifications for a country that was the cradle of the revolutions that swept the Arab world in 2011, a period known as the Arab Spring.

The Baker Institute this week published a collection of issue briefs Yildirim edited which examine the future of the country’s oldest Islamist group, Ennahdha, and its place in Tunisia’s evolving political landscape. The briefs pay particular attention to shifts in the relationship between religion and politics. They are based on discussions at a workshop on “Islam and Politics in Post-2011 Tunisia,” which was held in Tunis Feb. 12.

“The relationship between religion and politics has been one of the defining elements of post-revolutionary Tunisia,” Yildirim wrote in his introduction to the collection. “What makes the country’s transitional phase all the more intriguing is the fact that religion and religious actors were largely excluded from Tunisia’s political system prior to the overthrow of the Ben Ali regime in January 2011. In the current democratization phase, religion and religious actors have assumed a political significance that Tunisia has not experienced in recent memory.”

Yildirim’s main research interests include politics and religion, political Islam, the politics of the Middle East and Turkish politics.

Yildirim is currently traveling in the Middle East; media can contact him at


Related materials:

Yildirim biography:

Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInstitute.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top three university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at or on the institute’s blog,

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.