On top of that is a growing sense that, despite eye-catching gains, the transformation is far from complete in the countries that have brought down their rulers – never mind those remaining chieftains who, in a bid to preempt people power, have rushed to make reforms, pay off citizens with cash handouts, or promise not to seek yet one more term in office.
In Tunisia, a new surge of violent protests in late February – six weeks after former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali fled – left five dead and prompted the resignation of Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi. Protesters had demanded that he, as one of the last high-profile remnants of the old guard, step down, or their break with the past would not be complete.
"I am not ready to be the person who takes decisions that would end up causing casualties," said Mr. Ghannouchi, who had been prime minister for 11 years under Mr. Ben Ali. Yet a senior trade union leader complained that the immediate appointment of Ghannouchi's replacement – the 84-year-old former Foreign Minister Beji Caid Essebsi – was antidemocratic. How could Tunisia pull out of crisis, he asked, "if the president does not take at least 24 hours for consultations."