Tunisia was the first Arab country to have a revolution for freedom in this century and on January 6th, it became the first Arab country to proclaim equality between men and women in its new constitution by a parliamentary vote of 159 out of 169 members who voted.
The new constitution also guarantees freedom of opinion, thought, expression and information. The death penalty is not abolished, but has not been applied since the 1990's.
This has not been an easy battle because the Ennahda Islamic party still is the biggest political force in the country, but the other parties have vigourously defended the traditional secularism of Tunisia and they appear to have won.
The new constitution is due to be completely validated before January 14th, which will be the third anniversary of the revolution.
I'm thrilled to hear this news. I have friends in Tunisia, who took part in the revolution and have been (peacefully) combatting both the Islamists and the friends of the old, corrupt régime ever since. I'd love to visit that country.
Some members of the Ben Ali clan are still holed up here in Québec. Tunisians are demanding that their property be expropriated as stolen goods and the assets handed over to the Tunisian people.
In today's paper there is an article contrasting the new Tunisian constitution, made up of compromises to keep everyone rather pleased, and the mess going on in Egypt where nobody is happy. They mention that Tunisia's army was never as involved in politics as the Egyptian one. Fortunately too, the Islamist PM stepped down recently so the secular opposition feels as though they have some say in things.
The first protests so far against Ben Salman since the Khashoggi murder. Look at the giant banner on the Tunisian journalists' union! Yes, Tunisia does get aid from Saudi Arabia, but there is also the baneful Salafist influence which has caused so much harm.
Heartening that the protesters turned out in force, but the Tunisian government's stance is just as wormy as that of Trump:
Tunisian officials stressed the “historical and fraternal” relations between Tunis and Riyadh, adding that the region would suffer if Saudi Arabia, a regional power, was destabilised by Prince Mohammed’s removal.
Oh, I utterly agree. The current Tunisian government is far from an overall progressive outlook. If I recall there are still Islamist elements (haven't looked into the area much just recently), though more of the Turkish variety than the Saudi. What is heartening is civil society groups and individuals who refuse to be cowed.
After the recent death of the president of Tunisia, an election will take place this weekend. This has given place to the first presidential debate ever held in an Arab country. Even without speaking Arabic, it is refreshing to see this kind of event in Tunisia.
Both of them are complete outsiders of the current political system. Interestingly enough, Nabil Karoui is currently in prison on a charge of money laundering, which he denies.
Anyway, I don't think any of us here are really qualified to judge either candidate or fully understand the issues, but maybe we will find out more as the final round approaches. The date has not yet been set.
Meanwhile, deposed president Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali died today in his Saudi Arabian refuge. Will this have any sort of influence on the election? Who knows?
The Islamic party Ennahda has announced that it will support Kaïs Saïed for the final round. He is considered to be the more conservative candidate on societal issues. The election will take place on either October 6 (same day as the legislative elections) or one week later on October 13.
Kais Saïed, age 61, was elected president of Tunisia yesterday with 72.71% of the vote. He is an independent with no political party and is admired for not having any hint of corruption. Problem -- he was elected with no political programme and does not have a single elected member of parliament officially supporting him. Basically, voting for him was a protest vote against the system.
Officially, he does not support equality between women and men and he is also against the depenalisation of homosexuality, which is a growing issue in the country. Will he adapt to the country or will the country adapt to him?