Thursday, August 17

The Future of Tunisia (and the Arab Spring)

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Riddhi Dasgupta, JD candidate, Berkeley Law

Riddhi Dasgupta
The President’s pledge of $500 million to Tunisia has been a subject of some discussion. Surely, this monetary pledge was a show of support and encouragement to the fresh face of Tunisia.

This U.S. commitment may have been partially influenced by Tunisia’s soul-searching and new constitutionalism. The cradle of the Arab Spring, Tunisia ratified its new Constitution in late January and committed itself to the enshrinement of certain reforms. “All eyes around the world are fixed on Tunisia’s democratic experience,” the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) President Mustafa Ben Jaafar said.

The drafting of religion and secularism, individual rights, gender equality, corruption and presidential powers have all proved to be difficult but productive for the NCA members.

Yours truly led a British think-tank’s effort to produce a draft Constitution that took into account comparative and international law. Our team consisted of 35 lawyers and social scientists globally. The team’s work received some coverage from PRI/NPR/BBC and CNN/Fortune Magazine.

Constitutions are mainly aspirational charters and this locating of the aspirations must be done by the citizens themselves.


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