The year 2011 was dominated politically by popular uprisings in the Arab World of differing intensity and magnitude and have culminated in the fall of dictators in North Africa particularly. The main causes of these uprisings were the lack of universal freedoms, corruption by government officials, unemployment, especially among the youth, and high cost of living which exacerbated poverty. Known as the "Arab Spring", the uprisings demanded the departure of long time dictators, the establishment of democracy, an end to corruption, better redistribution of wealth, job creation and a better life and dignity for all.
EISA was not indifferent to the Arab Spring. Throughout 2011 EISA deployed delegations to Tunisia and Egypt to determine how it could support political transitions in these countries. In the last quarter of 2011 EISA opened a short term field office in Cairo, in support of its observer missions, that was closed in May 2013. Ultimately EISA was able to deploy successive missions to Egypt to observe the different rounds of parliamentary and presidential elections.
EISA missions included observers from Tunisia and Libya, offering peer-learning opportunities for these newcomers to election observation. EISA was gratified to have been able to share best international electoral practices with Egyptian stakeholders with the aim of offering more to North Africa. The Egyptian elections opened up opportunities for EISA to forge partnerships in the North African region.