Tunisia under Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali’s rule was more open to democratic ideas than the tyrannical states of Turkmenistan, Belarus, Myanmar, or Zimbabwe. Nevertheless, Ben Ali’s Tunisia was indisputably an authoritarian police state, characterized by systematic human rights violations, a total lack of freedom of the press and freedom of association, and only the barest façade of political pluralism. Indeed, the traditional rules of electoral competition from Bourguiba’s time did not change under Ben Ali despite repeated promises of openness. Successive victories saw him elected on 2 April 1989 with 99.27 percent of the vote, 20 March 1994 with 99.91 percent, 24 October 1999 with 99.44 percent, 24 October 2004 with 94.49 percent, and 25 October 2009 with 89.62 percent. His fifth win left little doubt that Ben Ali’s “reign [was] by no means over yet.”1 If these Brezhnev-type landslides were to be believed, Tunisia unanimously backed its “Architect of Change” with only a negligible number of malcontents. At least, this was the situation portrayed by simplistic literature.2