News / Africa

Rivals Battle for Tunisia's Future as Anniversary Approaches

Rivals Vie for Tunisia's Future as Anniversary Approachesi
|| 0:00:00
X
Henry Ridgwell
November 29, 2012 11:03 PM
Tunisia has just marked the anniversary of its first free elections -- and will soon celebrate the second anniversary of the uprising that led to the downfall of its dictatorship and triggered the so-called "Arab Spring." But critics of the new government warn that human rights abuses are still taking place. As a new constitution is drawn up, opposing forces in the country are fighting to determine Tunisia's future. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA.

Rivals Vie for Tunisia's Future as Anniversary Approaches

Henry Ridgwell
Tunisia has just marked its one-year anniversary since its first free elections - and will soon celebrate the second anniversary of the uprising that led to the downfall of its dictatorship and triggered the so-called Arab Spring. But critics of the new government warn human rights abuses are still taking place. As a new constitution is drawn up, opposing forces in the country are fighting to determine Tunisia's future.

Nearly two years after the overthrow of President Zine el Abidine Ben Ali, opposing forces are still fighting over Tunisia's future path.

Clashes erupted last month in the capital between police and Salafist Muslims.

Tension between hardline Islamists and secularists has risen since last year's election. The winner - the moderate Islamist Ennahda movement - is sharing power with two non-religious parties.

In London to receive the 2012 Chatham House Prize, Tunisia's President Moncef Marzouki said the coalition was a work in progress.

"If this experiment fails, another cycle of violence will undoubtedly take place. But if it succeeds, it can become an example for the rest of the Arab and Muslim countries," said Marzouki.

The co-recipient of the prize, head of the Ennahda movement Rached Ghannouchi, rejected accusations that Tunisia was moving away from democracy.

"We are certain that democracy and Islam are in harmony and that we can be democratic without letting go of Islam," he said.  Ghannouchi added that he believes "democracy without faith can turn into a power struggle where ethics are absent and where interest groups or financial lobbies rule."

Both leaders said fixing Tunisia's economy was vital for stability.

This week the European Union unfroze the assets belonging to 48 people associated with the former regime - potentially releasing millions of dollars back to Tunisian public funds.

Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui of human rights group Amnesty International says Tunisia's progress should not be forgotten.

"They did have elections which was quite significant for the region and I think it is setting a model for the rest of the region. But yet what we see ambiguity when it comes to human rights, when it comes to women's rights. We do see now people who are in jail in Tunisia for insulting Islam. This is something we haven't had before," said Sahraoui.

For the victims of the previous dictatorships, justice is at the core of the transition. A founder of the Tunisian Islamic Front in the 1980s, Mohamed Ali Harrath was tortured several times before fleeing in 1990. He now runs the TV station 'The Islam Channel' from London.

"No one should get away with murder; no one should get away with their wrongdoings. We have to bring them in; they have to face justice, but… after we have justice we have to move to reconciliation," said Harrath.

Harrath rejects what he calls Western fears of Islamization.

"Based on using that fear they supported dictators for so long. They have seen the results in terms of security, in terms of development, in terms of immigration," he said.

Large sections of Tunisian society are unhappy with their new government. But as the second anniversary of the revolution approaches, many analysts say the country where the Arab Spring began still holds lessons for those who followed its path.

You May Like

Karzai's Legacy: Missed Opportunities?

Afghanistan's president leaves behind a much different nation than the one he inherited, yet his legacy from 13 years in power is getting mixed reviews More

Video Secret Service Chief Under Fire for White House Security Breach

Julia Pierson faces tough questions from lawmakers after recent intrusion at White House, says: 'It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly' More

Frustrated, Liberian Students Want Ebola Fight Role

Thousands have volunteered to go to counties, rural villages to talk to people in their language about deadly virus More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihadi
X
Mahi Ramakrishnan
September 30, 2014 2:16 PM
Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Iran's Rouhani Skeptical on Syria Strikes

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani expressed skepticism Friday that U.S.-led airstrikes in Iraq and Syria could crush Islamic State militants. From New York, VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports the president was also hopeful that questions about Iran’s nuclear program could be resolved soon.
Video

Video US House Speaker: Congress Should Debate Authorization Against IS

As wave after wave of U.S. airstrikes target Islamic State militants, the speaker of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives says he would be willing to call Congress back into session to debate a formal, broad authorization for the use of military force. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where legislators left town 10 days ago for a seven-week recess.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Video

Video Ebola Robs Liberians of Chance to Say Good-Bye to Loved Ones

In Liberia, where Ebola has killed more than 1,500 people, authorities have worked hard to convince people to allow specialized burial teams to take away dead bodies. But these safety measures, while necessary, make it hard for people to say good bye to their loved ones. VOA's Anne Look reports on the tragedy from Liberia.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid