This chapter examines whether the French model of deconcentrated power at local level has undergone fundamental change in the countries under study: Egypt and Tunisia. Two contrasting pictures emerge: in all cases except Tunisia, the Arab Spring appears to have been an exercise in futility, as neighbouring countries are either embroiled in civil war or, as in the case of Egypt, have regressed into totalitarian regimes. Decentralisation in these countries appeared initially to offer an alternative means to wholesale regime change, and, in theory at least, allow citizens to become more involved in the political process, the priorities of their local communities, and the local economy. However, while Egypt has been taking steps towards recentralisation instead, Tunisia appears to be on the cusp of implementing a sustainable model of decentralisation.
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