Links to all the articles written by journalist Dan. Falvey
TUNISIA: A COUNTRY STRIVING FOR NORMALITY
In January 2011 Tunisia witnessed the birth of the Arab Spring. After 22 years of tyranny under the rule of President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali the people of this country in the North of Africa took to the streets to start a revolution against their leader in the hope of liberal democracy.
Unlike just about every other country which revolted against its leader that year Tunisia was a success story; against all the odds it was able to transfer power from the rule of a single totalitarian leader to the people who were able to vote in free and fair elections.
Few expected that Tunisia’s first democratic elections, held in October 2011, would be open and free. Pippa Norris, a professor at Harvard University who is one of the leading political commentators on electoral malpractice has argued that ‘transitional’ elections to democracy are often undermined by “fraud and challenges [to] the legitimacy of the outcome”. However, Tunisia defied the odds and held very successful elections with minimal examples of any electoral malpractice and were praised by institutions all over the world for the professionalism of the ballot.
Writing a new ‘democratic’ constitution and holding a second set of successful elections since this date, it now seems clear that Tunisia have been successful in making this transition to liberal democracy. Despite the failure of Egypt, Syria and other neighbouring states, Tunisia has achieved what it set out to do when the people first took to the streets four and a half years ago.