27 January 2014

Tunisia: New Constitution a Historic Landmark On Journey to Democracy for Tunisia

Photo: La Presse
New Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa begins work.

On 27 January 2014 Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly (NCA) adopted a new democratic constitution for the country by an overwhelming majority, following a peaceful and inclusive process, supported by UNDP, which saw engagement and dialogue from a wide political spectrum across the country.

Despite setbacks threatening to derail the drafting process, including political assassinations and economic recession, the commitment of the Tunisian political actors to consensus resulted in the adoption of the milestone document, which is a significant step forward in Tunisia's tumultuous move from autocracy to open democracy.

"This is truly an historic moment for Tunisia and its citizens," said UNDP Administrator Helen Clark. "This constitution opens a new chapter in the country's democratic transition."

Following the revolution of December 2010 to January 2011, Tunisia, widely called the 'cradle of the Arab Spring', embarked on its journey towards constitutional democracy. In October 2011 the newly elected National Constituent Assembly began drafting a new Constitution.

Since those historic elections, which marked the first free poll in the country since its independence in 1956, UNDP has been Tunisia's main international partner throughout its transition, supporting the constitutional process as well as capacity development for the new Assembly.

Through its Constitutional Support Project (2012-2015), UNDP has worked with the NCA in three areas: supporting the Assembly in its leadership of an open and participatory constitutional process; developing dialogue mechanisms to ensure citizen and civil society input into both the new constitution and social and economic policy making more generally; and strengthening the Assembly's institutional capacities.

Designed in response to the fluid national political context, the Project is supported by US$18 million funding from Japan, Belgium, the European Union, Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Switzerland, as well as UNDP's Bureau for Crisis Prevention and Recovery.

Under the Project's initiatives, over 6,000 citizens, 300 civil society organizations and 320 university representatives provided input to a nationwide dialogue with the NCA. In addition, more than 30,000 citizens were consulted on the draft Constitution through initiatives supported by UNDP.

In collaboration with other UN Agencies, UNDP also developed recommendations on how to ensure the Constitution conformed to Tunisia's international human rights commitments.

Despite the drafting process taking longer than initially anticipated, the Tunisian people and their representatives remained committed throughout, ensuring that the sacrifices of the revolution were rewarded through the new Constitution, a social compact that reflects the Tunisian people's call for democratic rights and respect for human dignity.

Ads by Google

Copyright © 2014 United Nations Development Programme. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.

InFocus

Tunisia Commended Over New Constitution

New Prime Minister Mehdi Jomaa begins work.

Several world leaders and international groups have hailed Tunisia's adoption of a new constitution which they say opens the way to a new democratic era in the country. Read more »