200 out of the 216 members of Tunisia’s National Constituent Assembly approved the country’s new Constitution. With 28 of its articles devoted to the protection of civil rights – including the fight against torture, the right to due process, freedom of worship and equal rights for men and women- the Constitution is a significantachievement for Tunisia but also for the entire region.
The Club de Madrid wishes to congratulate Tunisian society as a whole, its political parties, jusists, experts, civil society representatives, all of those involved in this promising and inspiring process in a country that is laying the foundations for a democracy based on rights, equality and dignity.
It is even more commendable given that all of this is being done through dialogue and very careful consensus building, showing that competing political factions can effectively contribute to a successful agreement with shared ownership, setting an example for countries like Egypt and Lybia, who are struggling in their own transition processes
The road has not been easy for Tunisia and the challenges ahead are still daunting. Political divisions, tensions and, sadly enough, even violence has interfered with the process. The process, however, must not be kidnapped by these tensions.. Political consensus has prevailed and, as UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said, “Tunisia can be a model to other peoples who are seeking reforms”.
The approval of the Constitution clears the way for the celebration of fair and multiparty elections that should enable Tunisia to mark the end of interim institutions and the beginning of a solid democracy. High unemployment rates, complicated economic perspectives, political divisions and social tensions must not hinder the enormous efforts that Tunisian society have made to build the most progressive democracy in the Arab world, founded on the rule of law, inclusiveness and pluralismo. The Club de Madrid encourages the people of Tunisia to participate in the democratic elections to be held by the end of the year and offers the political and leadership experience of its Members to support this crucial process.
Tunisia is proving that freedom, respect for human rights, and democratic values can be attained in diversity.
The Club de Madrid shares Mustapha Ben Jaafar’s statement after the vote: Tunisia now has “a new rendezvous with history to build a democracy founded on rights and equality”. We our affirm our support and celebrate Tunisia’s historical achievement and our commitment to democracy, prosperity, dignity in the Arab World.
Club de Madrid has a commitment to support democratic transitions all over the world as part of its core mission. In the case of Tunisia this work started years before the Arab Spring and has been reinforced in the last years through the projects “Leaders Engaged with New Democracies Project”, “Political Leadership for Democratic Transitions in the MENA Region and Integrated Support Programme for Institutional Reform. That’s why Club de Madrid vision perfectly matches the one expressed by assembly speaker Mustapha Ben Jaafar’s statement after the Constitutional approval vote: Tunisia has now “a new rendezvous with history to build a democracy founded on rights and equality”. Club de Madrid expresses its support and its Members commitment with that rendezvous between Tunisian people and history, and even beyond, between democracy, prosperity, dignity and the whole Arab World.
Some links to former Club de Madrid missions in Tunisia
- Petre Roman meets with Tunisian Prirme Minister to support democratic, peaceful and inclusive transition (June 2011)
- Club de Madrid delegation discusses Tunisia’s democratic transition (September 2012)
- LEND meeting to discuss Constitutional reform in Tunisiea (August 2013)