TUNIS, Sept 12 (Reuters) - Tunisia’s votes for president this month and parliament in October are the next step in its transition to democracy after a revolution that triggered the “Arab Spring” uprisings of 2011.
Here is a timeline showing the major events from the revolution to this year’s elections.
* December 2010 - Vegetable seller Mohamed Bouazizi sets himself on fire after police confiscate his cart. His funeral sparks nationwide protests over unemployment, corruption and repression.
* January 2011 - Veteran autocrat Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali flees to Saudi Arabia, as Tunisia’s revolution takes steps towards democracy and triggers uprisings across the Arab world.
* October 2011 - Moderate Islamist party Ennahda, banned under Ben Ali, wins most seats and forms a coalition with secular parties to together plan a new constitution.
* March 2012 - Growing polarisation between Islamists and secularists, particularly over women’s rights, as Ennahda pledges to keep Islamic law out of the new constitution.
* February 2013 - Secular opposition leader Chokri Belaid is shot dead, prompting large street protests and the resignation of the prime minister. Jihadists start mounting attacks on police.
* December 2013 - Ennahdha cedes power after mass protests and a national dialogue, with a technocratic government replacing it in office.
* January 2014 - Parliament approves a new constitution guaranteeing personal freedoms and equal rights for minorities, and splitting power between the president and prime minister.
* December 2014 - Beji Caid Essebsi wins Tunisia’s first free presidential election. Ennahda joins the ruling coalition.
* March 2015 - Islamic State attacks on the Bardo Museum in Tunis kill 22 people. In June a gunman shoots dead 38 people at a beach resort in Sousse.
The attacks devastate the tourism sector, vital to Tunisia’s struggling economy, and are followed by a suicide bombing in November that kills 12 soldiers.
* March 2016 - The army finally turns the tide against the jihadist threat by defeating dozens of Islamic State fighters who rampage into a southern town from across the Libyan border.
* August 2016 - Parliament chooses Youssef Chahed as prime minister after ousting his predecessor for slow progress in enacting economic reforms as the International Monetary Fund negotiates a loan programme worth around $2.8 billion.
* December 2017 - The economy approaches crisis point as the trade deficit soars and the currency slides to its weakest level in 16 years. As inflation reaches 7.8 pct, the Central Bank raises interest rates to record levels.
* January 2018 - Protesters march in cities across the country over lower living standards caused by the economic problems and government efforts to reduce the deficit by cutting subsidies and hiking tax.
* May 2018 - Ennahda does better than other parties in municipal elections, but with public frustration over the economy, only 34% of voters turn out.
* July 2019 - With elections looming, and days after a now rare militant attack in Tunis, Essebsi dies. The presidential vote is brought forward from November to September. (Reporting by Angus McDowall; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne)