A comparative study of the model of good governance between the two countries of Egypt and Tunisia from 2011 to 2019

Document Type : Original Article from Result of Thesis


1 PhD. Student in Political Science, Faculty of Law, Theology and Political Science, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

2 Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Law, Theology and Political Science, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.

3 Associate Professor at Political Science Department , Faculty of Law, Theology and Political Science, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran.


Good governance received attention at the end of 1990s and was considered the key to development by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The more the rule of law is in effect, the more the judicial system is efficient, and the higher the participation rate is, the better the governance is applied. The Middle East witnessed, in the last decade, Arab uprisings against dictatorial regimes and discriminatory policies, in which good governance is deemed to be one of the possible ways to compensate for the past. This research investigates Egypt and Tunisia. To evaluate the status of these two countries, the six indicators of good governance are used: control of corruption, rule of law, regulatory quality, government effectiveness, political stability, and voice and accountability. This research seeks to comparatively find out what status of good governance Tunisia and Egypt have reached after the Arab Spring. This is a descriptive, analytical, and comparative study aimed at comparing the status of Egypt and Tunisia in terms of achieving a post-revolution good governance paradigm. The results indicated that Tunisia has relatively achieved stability, with a higher score in good governance, due to having a dynamic middle class, a fairly consistent and pluralistic civil society, small professional armed forces, ethnic-religious homogeneity, and consistency of different fractions. Egypt, in contrast, lives out in somewhat political instability, leading to reduced score in good governance, due to political-religious conflicts, deep involvement of armed forces in politics, and post-revolution 2013 Egyptian coup d'état.



Good governance turned into a major approach in the late 1990s. The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have recognized good governance as the key to development. Commitment to the rule of law leads to a more efficient and fair judicial system, and the higher the participation, the better the governance. Since then, international institutions have promoted this pattern, particularly the World Bank. Relying on objective indicators from varying countries, the World Bank annually publishes a list under a project known as the Worldwide Governance Indicators (WGI). In the WGI, countries are ranked based on six main dimensions of governance, each of which includes several sub-indicators. The dimensions comprise voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, the rule of law, and control of corruption.

The last decade witnessed the Arab revolutions as protests and uprisings against dictatorships and discriminatory policies in the Middle East. It can be argued that these states now envisage good governance for their future to make up for the policies adopted in the past. Tunisia and Egypt were among the most important and influential countries involved in the 2011 Arab Spring. Uprisings in these two states shared plenty of commonalities in their roots, goals, nature, and characteristics, as well as similarities in pre-Arab Spring conditions. Tunisia and Egypt faced corrupt leaders, discrimination, injustice, and inept government, which fueled rising demands for political power and politicization of ethnic and religious groups. Extremism prevailed due to the spread of religious thought, poverty, failure of the education system, support of states, and ineffectiveness of international laws. The Arab Spring raised the hope for improvement in governance; however, the transition to democracy cannot happen overnight. After the revolution, Tunisia and Egypt witnessed substantial changes in this regard, although they were not positive and developmental in all dimensions. The states now seek to design and implement programs and policies to overcome domestic problems and resolve discrimination, aiming for further progress and development for their people. Laying the groundwork for “good governance” can be a suitable strategy to replace the discriminatory policies of authoritarian regimes and successfully transition to democracy and sustainable development. Accordingly, this study aimed to investigate the quality of good governance in Tunisia and Egypt. To this end, the countries were studied based on the six key dimensions of the WGI, namely, voice and accountability, political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, government effectiveness, regulatory quality, the rule of law, and control of corruption.



This comparative study was descriptive-analytical. The purpose was to compare the changes in post-revolution Tunisia and Egypt. The WGI’s six dimensions were used to evaluate the success of these states in managing the crises that led to revolution.



The findings demonstrated that Tunisia had achieved relative political stability in the region owing to its dynamic and robust middle class, fairly consistent and pluralistic civil society, small and professional army, homogeneous ethnic and religious groups, and unity and solidarity of different parties. Therefore, Tunisia had a passably better score regarding good governance. However, evidence obtained from reports revealed that Egypt is in a kind of political instability due to political-religious tensions, extensive interference of the army in politics, and the 2013 Egyptian coup d’etat. This has intensified political and religious tensions in the country, resulting in a lower good governance score.



The study of good governance indicators in Egypt in 2020 indicates that the scores changed periodically after the revolution. This suggests political instability, the presence of political violence, and low levels of voice and civil liberties. In the institutional dimension, the rule of law and control of corruption have followed a descending trend, implying the re-establishment of an authoritarian regime and the presence of corruption and economic rent in Egypt. Regulatory quality and effectiveness of the government have also been descending, indicating the poor efficacy of the government that has failed to fulfill Egyptians’ economic needs. According to the latest data published by the World Bank, Egypt’s good governance score ranked at the 22.9th percentile, which indicates the absence of good governance in this state.

Contrarily, good governance has been far better in Tunisia than in Egypt. In this regard, voice and accountability, particularly civil liberties, have increased substantially in an ascending trend. Tunisia was able to hold a fair election in 2014 and thus successfully passed Huntington’s “two-turnover test”, suggesting the establishment of a democratic regime. It also received acceptable scores in the institutional and economic dimensions of the WGI. According to the data from the World Bank, Tunisia’s good governance score ranked at the 43.6th percentile. The comparison of the latest scores indicates that Tunisia obtained twice that of Egypt. The World Bank’s data highlights that the Tunisian revolution has successfully moved towards its goal, i.e., establishing a democratic government. Nevertheless, Egypt has not only failed to progress but has also followed a descending trend in terms of indicators of good governance.

According to reports and published data, it can be argued that Tunisia ranks higher than Egypt in good governance (43.6 versus 22.9 in scores) but still has a long path forward to achieve global standards. Overall, Tunisia has not yet fully implemented a good governance model. Both states have progressed in most indicators after the revolution. Nevertheless, the comparison suggested that Tunisia has undergone further improvement in the indicators as a result of better pre-revolution conditions, a more robust civil society, and a more optimal transition to democracy and state-nation building, as well as ethnic and religious homogeneity. Egypt is in a state of political instability because of political-religious tensions, extensive interference of the army in politics, and the 2013 Egyptian coup d’etat. Lastly, it is important to note that Tunisia’s higher rank than Egypt does not equal having ideal scores in these indicators. Thus, it cannot be asserted that Tunisia has achieved good governance, although it ranks higher than Egypt.


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