EUSpring | The National Constituent Assembly of Tunisia and Civil Society Dynamics

8 July 2015
Rihab Boukhayatia (Journalist at Le Maghreb) and Hamadi Redissi (Professor of Political Sciences at University al-Manar of Tunis)

The Tunisian constitution of 27 January 2014 was deemed essentially compatible with international human rights principles and standards. These were adopted at the outcome of a dual process, which was underway both inside the National Constituent Assembly (NCA) and outside it, between the NCA and civil society stakeholders. Three successive drafts fell considerably short of expectations (6 August 2012, 14 December 2012 and 22 April 2013). The fourth draft (1 June 2013) was still fraught with 20 or so fundamental divergences. These were resolved, thanks to the National Dialogue in cooperation with the ad hoc “consensus commission” (lajnet tawafuqat) within the NCA, which is chaired by Mustapha Ben Jaafar (President of the NCA). The final text was overwhelmingly adopted on 26 January 2014 by 200 votes, with 12 against and four abstentions. It was promulgated on 10 February.

This paper is published in the framework of the EUSpring project on Democracy and Citizenship in North Africa after the Arab Awakening: Challenges for EU and US Foreign Policy ( The project is carried out by a consortium of organisations, including the European Policy Centre, University of Warwick in the United Kingdom, The German Marshall Fund of the United States, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights, the Centre for Mediterranean and International Studies in Tunisia and the Centre de Recherche sur l'Afrique et la Méditerranée in Morocco and coordinated by Università degli Studi L’Orientale in Naples. The project is supported by the Compagnia di San Paolo.