Positive Changes in Tunisia

After months of political gridlock, reason has finally prevailed and the majority of political parties agreed on an independent new prime minister, sparring Tunisia from an eventual wave of violence that have plagued other Arab spring countries.

Last Friday, seating prime minister Ali Laarayedh has stepped down while the new Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa took oath and promised to form an independent cabinet of technocrats whose objective is to lead the country to the next round of elections. The National Constitutional Assembly has also appointed the next non- partisan electoral commission.

On the constitutional front, the National Constitutional Assembly adopted several article of the new constitution since it began voting a week ago. Women rights and freedom of conscience are guaranteed.

Tunisia that has long been hailed as the leader of women’s right in the Arab World have maintained that reputation by voting on two important articles enshrining women’s rights. Article 20 states that “all men and women citizens have the same rights and duties and are equal before the law” while Article 45 guarantees the protection of women rights by the state and equal opportunity between men and women. Parity in the Assembly is also debated.

While Islam remains the “religion of the sate” article 1, it is the guardian of religions, protector of the sacred and also guarantees freedom of belief and conscience article 6. That last article has been hotly debated as Ennahdha did not agree on freedom of conscience.

The next few months will be very critical for Tunisia’s future. If the Constitution is ratified and free and fair election are held, it will demonstrate that the dream of liberal democracy is not a mirage. Tunisia who revolted against the old order will probably establish the model of a new one.


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