Tunisia: How to Keep Democracy on Track


Tunisia’s seven-year-long transition to democracy has been excruciatingly difficult, marked by several terrorist attacks, ongoing economic crisis, political stalemate, and tenuous compromises between Islamists and secularists. At several points since the overthrow of former President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali, Tunisians have been forced to question whether their democratic experiment will survive the pressure, notes Sarah Yerkes, a Fellow with Carnegie’s Middle East Program.

The government and civil society have been productive collaborators during previous phases of the Tunisian transition, but today, a climate of fear and a growing trust gap are getting in the way of their cooperation, she writes for Foreign Affairs:

The United States and Europe should work with the more than 90 civil society organizations that published the “Pact for Equality and Individual Freedoms,” a report outlining the fundamental freedoms that all Tunisian citizens should enjoy, to ensure that adequate attention is paid to priorities such as ending torture, protecting sexual freedom, and improving the judicial process.

Finally, the Tunisian government should engage in a serious dialogue with civil society and the international community about efforts to amend legislation relating to NGOs. RTWT

Rached Ghannouchi, the leader of Tunisia’s Ennahdha party, makes the case for the compatibility of Islam and democracy in the July 2018 edition of the National Endowment for Democracy’s Journal of Democracy.

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