A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Some Promising Signs in Tunisia

Some good news for once. Tunisian Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh, member of the Al-Nahda Party, announced his resignation (as expected), preparing to hand over power to Mehdi Jomaa during a transitional government. Laarayedh's resignation formally ends the Al-Nahda (Ennahda) dominated government, and marks a rare transfer of power by an Islamist political party. Compared to the polarized situation in Egypt, it's promising news indeed, a realase of Islamists and secularists finding a way to work together (though by no means smoothly).

Meanwhile the National Constitutional Assembly is completing work on the new constitution, approving a key provision guaranteeing freedom of conscience and banning takfir or declaring someone an apostate, and even voting to call for gender parity in elected bodies. (Somewhere Habib Bourguiba is smiling, except maybe about the "elected" part.)

Progress is also being made on forming the committee to oversee elections.

Tunisia isn't there yet, and violence, assassinations and other social strains have been apparent. It will likely adopt its new constitution next week, three years after the Revolution,  the same week Egypt will vote for its second new constitution in that same period.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Perhaps, the "rarity" of voluntary transfers of power by Islamist parties has more to do with the fact that they have not been allowed to win elections (Algeria) or when they have, they have been removed by extrajudicial means (Egypt).