Most important was the proactive approach taken by Tunisian civil society.Four civil society groups, known as the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, were instrumental in pulling the country back from the brink of civil war.By building consensus across political groups, the quartet paved the way for a peaceful transition.

consolidating society-57

Where democratic reversals occurred in other Arab Spring countries, the country was considered a lone success story.

But it is now facing a plethora of challenges to its democratic gains.

These include corruption, terrorism, youth unemployment of about 40% and weak economic growth prospects.

The Conversation UK receives funding from Hefce, Hefcw, SAGE, SFC, RCUK, The Nuffield Foundation, The Ogden Trust, The Royal Society, The Wellcome Trust, Esmée Fairbairn Foundation and The Alliance for Useful Evidence, as well as sixty five university members.

View the full list In late 2010 demonstrations in Tunisia sparked a popular push for democratisation through the Arab world in what became known as the Arab Spring.

The uprisings saw Tunisia emerge from 23 years of despotic rule under President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.Though the country has made substantial gains since its transition, it still needs to safeguard its fledgling democracy.The failure to meet rising expectations and address growing discontent, particularly among the youth, were key causes of the Ben Ali regime’s downfall.More specifically, the corrosive effect of corruption, including its deleterious effect on trust for political authority, catalysed change.In this context, reform remains a tenuous and fragile process.Several factors explain Tunisia’s successful transition. The military showed restraint during the transition process, and there was a general willingness to reach a political compromise.