Perhaps it ends where it began. The events in Tunisia this week represent a de facto coup d’état, and unless the suspension of parliament really is only for 30 days, they also end hopes for a genuine Arab democracy.

President Kais Saied fired Prime Minister Hicham Mechichi’s government and announced he would assume executive authority. He invoked Article 80 of Tunisia’s 2014 constitution which states the president can take “exceptional measures” in the event of “imminent danger” to the state. The exact nature of the danger was left unspecified but apparently required the sacking of the army’s chief prosecutor, the head of the national television station, the closure of Al Jazeera’s bureau in Tunis, and stationing soldiers around the parliament building to prevent MPs from entering. Kais has promised he will use the month-long legislative hiatus to focus on the economy and the Covid crisis.