The first constitution since the ousting of President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali has been passed by an overwhelming majority of the National Constituent Assembly, sparking the unfurling of flags and joyful scenes within the parliament.
The move ends months of deadlock between Islamist and Secular forces and enshrines, amongst other articles, parity between men and women and freedom of worship. Prime Minister-designate Mehdi Jomaa has indicated that the formation of a new caretaker government will shortly follow.
While many Tunisians remain unconvinced by the new document, coming as it does at the end of a protracted drafting process and against a backdrop of economic strife, there is a sense of international optimism at the news. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, via a spokesperson, hailed what he described as “a historic achievement”, and suggested that “Tunisia’s example can be a model to other peoples seeking reforms”.
Commercial analysts eyeing the Tunisian market will be hoping the new constitution can lead to the creation of business and professional opportunities that will remedy high unemployment and make use of the diversified skills base of the Tunisian talent pool. Global Career Company’s Maghreb desk leader Hedi Samari shares this view,
“This is good news for the North African state, as it sends re-assuring, positive signals to foreign investors and local companies, leading to hopes that 2014 is very much a year of growth and stability for this beacon of hope for the “Arab Spring”.”