Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet

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The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet (Arabic : الرباعي التونسي للحوار الوطني, French : Quartet du dialogue national) is a group of four organizations that were central in the attempts to build a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. [1]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

Classical pluralism is the view that politics and decision making are located mostly in the framework of government, but that many non-governmental groups use their resources to exert influence. The central question for classical pluralism is how power and influence are distributed in a political process. Groups of individuals try to maximize their interests. Lines of conflict are multiple and shifting as power is a continuous bargaining process between competing groups. There may be inequalities but they tend to be distributed and evened out by the various forms and distributions of resources throughout a population. Any change under this view will be slow and incremental, as groups have different interests and may act as "veto groups" to destroy legislation. The existence of diverse and competing interests is the basis for a democratic equilibrium, and is crucial for the obtaining of goals by individuals. A polyarchy—a situation of open competition for electoral support within a significant part of the adult population—ensures competition of group interests and relative equality. Pluralists stress civil rights, such as freedom of expression and organization, and an electoral system with at least two parties. On the other hand, since the participants in this process constitute only a tiny fraction of the populace, the public acts mainly as bystanders. This is not necessarily undesirable for two reasons: (1) it may be representative of a population content with the political happenings, or (2) political issues require continuous and expert attention, which the average citizen may not have.

Democracy system of government in which citizens vote directly in or elect representatives to form a governing body, sometimes called "rule of the majority"

Democracy is a system of government where the citizens exercise power by voting. In a direct democracy, the citizens as a whole form a governing body and vote directly on each issue. In a representative democracy the citizens elect representatives from among themselves. These representatives meet to form a governing body, such as a legislature. In a constitutional democracy the powers of the majority are exercised within the framework of a representative democracy, but the constitution limits the majority and protects the minority, usually through the enjoyment by all of certain individual rights, e.g. freedom of speech, or freedom of association. "Rule of the majority" is sometimes referred to as democracy. Democracy is a system of processing conflicts in which outcomes depend on what participants do, but no single force controls what occurs and its outcomes.


The quartet was formed in the summer of 2013. [2] On 9 October 2015, the quartet was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. [3] [4]

2015 Nobel Peace Prize

The 2015 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for "its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011".

The National Dialogue Quartet comprises the following organizations in Tunisian civil society: [5]

Civil society can be understood as the "third sector" of society, distinct from government and business, and including the family and the private sphere. By other authors, "civil society" is used in the sense of 1) the aggregate of non-governmental organizations and institutions that manifest interests and will of citizens or 2) individuals and organizations in a society which are independent of the government.

The Tunisian General Labour Union is a national trade union center in Tunisia. It has a membership of 517,000 and was founded January 20, 1946.

Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts Tunisian employers organization

Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts or UTICA is an employers' organization in Tunisia representing industrial, trade and craft sectors. On October 9, 2015, the National Dialogue Quartet, comprising UTICA, the Tunisian General Labour Union, the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, was announced as the laureate of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011".

Tunisian Human Rights League Tunisian human rights organisation

The Tunisian Human Rights League is an association to observe and defend human rights in Tunisia. It was founded in 1976, but associations had to be government-recognized, and the government delayed considerably before giving official recognition in May 1977. The organization's name is usually abbreviated LTDH, for its French name.

Background to formation

In 2011, Tunisia was experiencing a revolution. In its wake, the stability and security of the country were considerably compromised. [6] [7] After the creation of the Assemblée nationale constituante (Constituent Assembly of Tunisia) of 2011, the writing of a new constitution proved difficult and the one-year deadline for its final ratification passed without much progress. [8] During this time, the government was criticized for its lax attitude towards radical Islamists. [8] Several attacks took place; the most widely reported was the assassination of Chokri Belaïd on 6 February 2013. [8] [9]

Tunisian Revolution intensive campaign of civil resistance in Tunisia

The Tunisian Revolution was an intensive campaign of civil resistance. It included a series of street demonstrations which took place in Tunisia, and led to the ousting of longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011. It eventually led to a thorough democratization of the country and to free and democratic elections.

Constituent Assembly of Tunisia

The Constituent Assembly of Tunisia, or National Constituent Assembly (NCA) was the body in charge of devising a new Tunisian constitution for the era after the fall of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his Constitutional Democratic Rally (RCD)–regime. Convoked after the election on 23 October 2011, the convention consists of 217 lawmakers representing Tunisians living both in the country and abroad. A plurality of members comes from the moderate Islamist Ennahda Movement. The Assembly held its first meeting on 22 November 2011, and was dissolved and replaced by the Assembly of the Representatives of the People on 26 October 2014.

Tunisian national dialogue (October 2012) Tunisian national dialogue (October 2012).jpg
Tunisian national dialogue (October 2012)

Consequently, tensions between the Tunisian government's Islamist majority and its opposition increased. [10] There were huge opposition-led protests in the summer of 2013 which threatened the continued existence of the national government at that time. After the assassination of Mohamed Brahmi on 25 July 2013, Belaïd and Brahmi's group, Popular Front, banded with the other opposition parties into a group named the National Salvation Front. This group organized the Bardo street protest,[ clarification needed ] calling for the government to resign. [8] [9] [10] In addition, 42 opposition members withdrew from the Assembly. [8] From 6 August 2013, the Assembly was unable to carry on normal functioning. [8]

A political crisis evolved in Tunisia following the assassination of leftist leader Mohamed Brahmi in late July 2013, during which the country's mainly secular opposition organized several protests against the ruling Troika alliance that was dominated by Rashid al-Ghannushi's Islamist Ennahda Movement. The events came as part of the aftermath of the Tunisian Revolution which ousted the country's longtime president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, followed by a general election which saw Ennahda win a plurality alongside Moncef Marzouki's allied Congress for the Republic (CPR). The crisis gradually subsided when Prime Minister Ali Laarayedh resigned and a new constitution was adopted in January 2014.

Mohamed Brahmi Tunisian politician

Mohamed Brahmi was a Tunisian politician. Brahmi was the founder and former leader of the People's Movement, which, under his leadership, won two seats in the constituent election in 2011.

Popular Front (Tunisia) Tunisian political party

The Popular Front for the Realization of the Objectives of the Revolution, abbreviated as the Popular Front (ej-Jabha), is a leftist political and electoral alliance in Tunisia, made up of nine political parties and numerous independents.

Given the critical situation, the Tunisian General Labour Union took the first step in forming an alliance of civil societies by approaching the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, considered their historical rival. The Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers later joined. [11] The role of the UGTT throughout the Jasmine Revolution and transition period was recently discussed in the following journal article, "No Ordinary Union: The Role of the UGTT in the Tunisian path to revolution and transition" (Workers of the World, Volume I, Number 7, November 2015). [12]

The regional context of violent exacerbation, coupled with the local discontent against Ennahdha’s performance in office, has put a huge question mark on the Tunisian transition. Although Ennahdha claimed to be a moderate political party, its perceived failure to fight extremist groups and its perceived dual speech has strengthened the belief of anti ennahdha people who claimed that this local branch of the Muslim brotherhood was a light cover for more extreme Islamic groups. The political assassinations against two opposition leaders, Chokri Belaid and Mohamed Brahmi, and the killing of Tunisian soldiers by Islamist terrorists in 2013, will polarize public opinion even more. Huge demonstrations started in the summer of 2013 in Bardo asking for both the constitutional assembly and the government to be dissolved. People wanted democracy to succeed, but not at the expense of security and progressive reform. Ennahdha, was committed to remain in office, and claimed its democratic legitimacy over power. Nidaa Tounes and the opposition argued that although Ennahdha access to power was democratic, the transition was supposed to last 1 year only and had one main objective: the drawing of a new democratic and consensual constitution for the country. 1 year and a half after Ennahdha accession to power, the constitution was far from being completed. The political debate was near a dead-end, and non-political actors will have to step in to find a solution. Civil society will step in a forge a national dialogue initiative to prevent Tunisia’s transition to democracy to fail: the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet was constituted on that premise.


On 29 July 2013, the Tunisian General Labour Union called for negotiations between the parties in power and the opposition. [8] [9] The parties accepted in September 2013, as the situation was worsening. [8] [9] On 17 September 2013, the initiative was made public and placed under the aegis of the Labour Union and three other civic organizations: the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, the Tunisian Order of Lawyers and the Tunisian Human Rights League.

On 17 September 2013, the four organizations drafted an agreement between the parties suggesting compromises that would allow negotiations to commence. [8] This draft roadmap had four main points: the resignation of the government and its replacement by an "independent technocratic" government, the choice of fixed dates for parliamentary recesses and elections (including presidential elections), the agreement to preserve national identity in the new constitution, and negotiation of the steps necessary for the transition to a democratic government (including deadlines for each). [8] [13] [14]

Each political party had to accept the roadmap if it wanted to participate in the negotiations. [8] Twenty-one parties from both sides signed the agreement, making the national dialogue possible. [8] The only major party that refused to participate was the party of interim president Moncef Marzouki, the Congress for the Republic, which was one of the three parties in power.

The first dialogue session took place on 5 October 2013, at the Palais des Congrès in Tunis. [15] During the discussions, a slip of the tongue (substituting the similarly pronounced Arabic word "jackass" in place of "dialogue") by Abdessattar Ben Moussa, president of the Tunisian Human Rights League caused gales of laughter among the delegates, even Rached Ghannouchi, president of the Ennahdha party. [16]

After the initial session, subsequent talks continued regularly, under the aegis of the quartet, at the Transitional Ministry of Human Rights and Justice. [17] During these discussions, the Quartet played an active role which was considered important to the success of these talks. [13] They led to the choosing of Mehdi Jomaa as Prime Minister on 14 December, the resignation of the government of Ali Larayedh on 9 January 2014, the ratification of the new constitution on 24 January and presidential elections in December. [8] [18] [19] [20]

2015 Nobel Peace Prize

On 9 October 2015, the quartet was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize "for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011". [3]

Kaci Kullmann Five, head of the Nobel Committee, said: "It established an alternative peaceful political process at a time when the country was on the brink of civil war". [21] The Nobel committee said it hopes Tunisia will serve as an example for other countries. [22]


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2014 Tunisian presidential election presidential election in Tunisia

A presidential election was held in Tunisia on 23 November 2014, a month after the parliamentary election. It was the first free and fair presidential election since the country gained independence in 1956, as well as the first regular presidential election after the Tunisian Revolution of 2011 and the adoption of the Constitution in January 2014.

Ennahda Movement Tunisian political party

The Ennahdha Party, also known as Renaissance Party or simply Ennahdha, is a Muslim democratic political party in Tunisia. Founded as "The Movement of Islamic Tendency" in 1981, Ennahdha was inspired by the Iranian revolution, and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, but has also been called "the mildest and most democratic Islamist party in history". Rached Ghannouchi was the movement's founder and remains its president.

Hamadi Jebali Tunisian politician and journalist

Hamadi Jebali is a Tunisian engineer, Islamist politician and journalist who was Prime Minister of Tunisia from December 2011 to March 2013. He was the Secretary-General of the Ennahda Movement, a moderate Islamist party in Tunisia, until he left his party in December 2014 in the course of the Tunisian presidential election, 2014.

Abderraouf Ayadi Tunisian politician

Abderraouf Ayadi is a Tunisian human rights activist, politician and lawyer.

Nidaa Tounes Tunisian political party

Nidaa Tounes is a big tent secularist political party in Tunisia. After being founded in 2012, the party won a plurality of seats in the October 2014 parliamentary election. The party's founding leader Beji Caid Essebsi was elected President of Tunisia in the 2014 presidential election.

Chokri Belaid Tunisian politician

Chokri Belaïd, also transliterated as Shokri Belaïd, was a Tunisian lawyer and politician who was an opposition leader with the left-secular Democratic Patriots' Movement. Belaïd was a vocal critic of the Ben Ali regime prior to the 2011 Tunisian revolution and of the then Islamist-led Tunisian government. On 6 February 2013, he was fatally shot outside his house in El Menzah, close to the Tunisian capital, Tunis. As a result of his assassination, Tunisian Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali announced his plan to dissolve the existing national government and to form a temporary "national unity" government.

Peoples Movement (Tunisia)

The People's Movement is a political party in Tunisia. It is a socialist, secularist and Arab nationalist party founded in April 2011. The composition of the party has changed several times as a result of mergers and splits. The People's Movement is a member of the Popular Front coalition, one of the three main coalitions of political parties in Tunisia. The former leader of the party, Mohamed Brahmi, was assassinated on 25 July 2013 by unknown killers.

2014 Tunisian parliamentary election

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Tunisian Order of Lawyers Tunisian trade union organisation

The Tunisian Order of Lawyers is a non-profit Tunisian organization and the bar association of the country. All lawyers in Tunisia are members of the Order, which does not belong to any political party. The headquarters of the Order are located in Tunis. The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, of which the Tunisian Order of Lawyers forms part, was announced as the laureate of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize on October 9, 2015, for its role building a constitutional democracy following the Tunisian Revolution.

Wided Bouchamaoui Tunisian businesswoman

Wided Bouchamaoui, also transcribed Ouided Bouchamaoui, is a Tunisian businesswoman who since 2011 has been leader of the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA). As leader of the organization she took from 2013 part in Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet which led the latter organization to receive the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. The French news magazine Jeune Afrique has identified her as one of the Top 25 Business Women in Africa.

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Sayida Ounissi Tunisian politician

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Liberalism in Tunisia

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Socialism in Tunisia or Tunisian socialism is a political philosophy that is shared by various political parties of the country. It has played a role in the country's history from the time of the Tunisian independence movement against France up through the Tunisian Revolution to the present day.

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Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Kailash Satyarthi
Malala Yousafzai
Laureate of the Nobel Peace Prize
Succeeded by
Juan Manuel Santos