How will 2019 fit into the story of Tunisia's democratic development?

Tunisians go to the polls on Sunday for the second democratic presidential election in the country’s modern history. What will they be thinking about as they cast their ballots? Jobs? Human rights? Pollution? How will these and other priorities reshape the political landscape in the months and years to come, as the country navigates the choppy waters of economic stagnation and more stringent popular demands for elected leaders to deliver? And how do those leaders—from the president all the way down—actually realize the promises they make during election season?

The answers to these questions are relevant not just to the people of Tunisia—the birthplace of the Arab Spring—but for small-‘d’ democrats across the region who look to the country for hope and guidance. In the newest episode of the DemWorks podcast, Leo Spaans, our country director in Tunisia, and Les Campbell, NDI regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, try to provide some answers.

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Who's #TweetTalking About Tunisia and Democracy?

Just weeks before the annual Concordia Summit in New York, NY on September 19th and 20th, the National Democratic Institute and Concordia partnered to host a TweetTalk as an extension of the panel, “Helping Democracy Deliver: Tunisia as an Example of Economic and Political Transition.” Like the panel, the TweetTalk aimed to explore themes like extremist activity in Libya as a threat to Tunisian progress, and whether decentralization can address regional inequalities.

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Tunisia’s Democratic Transition Through the Lense of Four Prominent Advocates

This year, at its annual Democracy Award Dinner to be held on Tuesday, November 10, in Washington, D.C., NDI will honor Tunisia’s democratic transition through the lense of four Tunisians who represent its government, parliament and civil society. The Democracy Award, NDI’s highest honor, is presented annually to individuals or organizations that have demonstrated a commitment to democracy and human rights.

Tunisians Yassine Brahim, Rafik Halouani, Wafa Makhlouf and Sayida Ounissi have been, among others, at the forefront of efforts to advance the democratic transition in their country, reflecting a new generation of democratic leaders. It is leaders from civil society, political parties and government, like those honored with this year’s Democracy Award, who are turning the promise of the Tunisian revolution into real improvement in the daily lives of citizens and make democracy succeed.

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The Road Forward: Tunisia Provides an Example for Democracy in the Middle East and North Africa

Tunisian citizens protest the rise of the destabilizing trend of regionalism

Nearly five years after protests against former authoritarian leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali began in December 2010, Tunisia has adopted a modern constitution and, for the first time, democratically elected a new legislature and president. Tunisia has been lauded as an inspirational -- though not untroubled -- democracy within the Middle East and North Africa region. To ensure the current security concerns and economic difficulties do not encourage undemocratic intervention in the process, it is important that the U.S. government and international community continue to support the new Tunisian government as it makes difficult choices.

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Job Opportunity: Resident Director in Tunisia

NDI is recruiting a resident country director with strong management skills and political or civic experience to oversee the implementation of NDI’s programs in Tunisia. The position will be based Tunis but will require travel throughout the country and to other locations in the Middle East and North Africa region as needed.

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