MENA COVID-19 Bulletin No 4: Pandemic Politics

Loes Debuysere, James Moran, Zine Labidine Ghebouli, Maged Atef, Luna Safwan, Tarek A Alhouny, Mohamed Murshan, Hiba El Khamal, Salam Kawakibi, Eya Jrad

The past two weeks saw a surge in infection rates in Algeria, Morocco and Libya, while the situation continues to be worrisome in Egypt. As in Europe, fears for new outbreaks or waves are widespread in the EU’s Southern Neighbourhood, especially now that most countries have fully or partially eased their lockdown measures. Overall, the Covid-19 crisis has consolidated the region’s already poor institutional and democratic record. It has provided fertile ground for increased repression and crackdown of journalists, civil society and other critical voices. The region’s silver lining is Tunisia, where the government’s popularity has gone up after successfully managing the crisis. However, the economic backlash of the pandemic will likely amplify already existing political challenges all across the region in the near future.