In Tunisia, where the Arab awakening began, the move toward a more open society is experiencing growing pains. Economic pressures exacerbated by the revolution and the war next door in Libya, extremist violence, and the country’s deep divisions over drafting its new constitution all present pressing challenges to Tunisia’s democratic transition. Will the country that kicked off the Arab revolutions continue to inspire the region’s drive toward democracy? What can Tunisian approaches to resolving political conflicts and reconciling Islamism and democracy teach us about the prospects for successful transitions elsewhere in the Arab world?
On May 31, the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at Brookings hosted Rached Ghannouchi, co-founder and president of Tunisia’s Nahda Party, for a special address on the future of Tunisian democracy. Vice President Martin Indyk, director of Foreign Policy, provided introductory remarks. Following Ghannouchi’s remarks, Saban Center Director and Senior Fellow Tamara Cofman Wittes moderated the discussion and included audience questions.