Tunisia’s first full elected parliament held its opening session on Tuesday with a challenge to implement the democracy its people sought when they marched in the 2011 revolt against autocrat Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, Reuters reports:
The country that saw the first of the Arab Spring revolts chose a temporary national assembly in 2011 to draw up the new constitution approved early this year. The full parliament will sit for the next five years. That constitution has been hailed as one of the most progressive in the Arab world and an example of Tunisia being a model for transition in a regional in turmoil.
“We have achieved the theoretical side by approving a progressive constitution but today we face the toughest stage, which is how we apply this constitution,” Mustapha Ben Jaafar, president of the former transitional assembly, told lawmakers.
Tunisians achieved another first since the Arab uprisings began almost four years ago, casting their vote for president on November 23 in free and open elections. The leading candidates-Beji Caid Essebsi, former regime official and leader of Nidaa Tounes, and interim president Moncef Marzouki-will face each other in a runoff at the end of this month. The race reflects the tension between Tunisians’ need for familiar leadership in light of growing insecurity and their aspiration to fulfill the promise of the Jasmine Revolution.
What insights, in terms of voter turnout and civic engagement, does the first presidential round reveal about the country’s outlook? How will the presidential election result determine the formation of the new government? What role is Ennahda poised to play in Tunisia’s future? What opportunities and challenges will the elected leadership face in terms of consensus building and governance?
Please join a discussion of these and other questions with Hariri Center Nonresident Fellow Bassem Bouguerra, a security sector reform advocate and recent candidate for Tunisia’s parliament, and Jeffrey England , deputy regional director for Middle East and North Africa programs at the National Democratic Institute, who observed the parliamentary and presidential elections in Tunisia in the last two months.
Thursday, December 11, 2014 9:30 – 11:00 AM A light breakfast will be served.
1030 15th Street NW 12th Floor (West Tower Elevator) Washington, DC
The Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy cordially invites you to a press conference panel on:
Tunisia’s Landmark Presidential Elections: Referendum, Revolution or Restoration?
Welcoming Remarks:His Excellency Mohamed Ezzine Chelaifa Tunisian Ambassador to the United States (invited)
Radwan Masmoudi President, Center for the Study of Islam and Democracy (and Tunisian presidential campaign expert)
Marina Ottaway Senior Associate, Middle East Program, Wilson Center (presidential campaign commentator)
Jeffrey England Deputy Regional Director for MENA, National Democratic Institute (presidential and parliamentary election observation leader)
Hal Ferguson Deputy Regional Director for MENA, International Republican Institute (presidential and parliamentary election observation leader)
Robert Worth Contributor, New York Times Magazine (presidential campaign commentator)
Moderator and Chair:
Dr. William Lawrence Center for the Study of Islam & Democracy and American Tunisian Association
Tuesday, December 2, 2014 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.
National Press Club Fourth Estate Restaurant 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor Washington DC 20045
Light refreshments will be served