Tunisia leading the region with its democracy as Arab Spring celebrates its 10th anniversary
A decade ago Tunisia sparked the Arab Spring with toppling of its long time strong authoritative leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011. The Arab Spring led a new wave of hope across Middle East and North Africa that the days ahead would be embarked with freedom and a more democratic era. As January 14th marks 10th anniversary of Arab Spring, that hope of democracy has unfortunately vanished for majority of countries. But Tunisia has been an exception.
Though Tunisia has had its share of ups and downs since the dawn of Arab Spring, it still stands as a notable exception. Tunisia is still pursuing its goal of an economic and democratic revolution.It is to be noted that Tunisia’s democracy is still developing and economic state is rather fragile. The World Bank sums the condition precisely, “Tunisia remains a country of contrasts: While important progress has been made on political transition toward an open, democratic system of governance, economic transition has not kept pace.”2014 was a significant year for Tunisia, as it adopted a new constitution and then conducted its first and full parliamentary and presidential elections. The government being young, is still facing a daunting challenge of revitalizing the country’s economy and building people’s confidence over the democracy.
The Heritage Foundation’s annual Index of Economic Freedom’s latest edition shows Tunisia’s economic freedom score to be 55.8 out of 100. This makes its economy the 128th-freest economy in the world. Recent improvement in property rights and other laws has led to slight increase in its score.Tunisia’s policy framework needs to be worked on continuously for now by its leadership and policymakers.Being on path of constantly improving democracy, Tunisia stands as an ideal ally to the West and a role model for the other countries in region.
Tunisia is also one of the prominent 17 non-NATO allies of the US. Tunisia has effectively fought terrorist organizations like Al-Qaeda and ISIS, even as neighbouring Libya has been collapsing under the instable regime and terrorist organizations’ impact.Being an important partner and ally with the US is important to Tunisia in its quest to establish a stable democratic nation with stable economy as well.