12 years later: Tunisia is still searching for the right political system

Since the uprisings 12 years ago, Tunisia has been trying to find the proper balance between democratic ideals and Islamic values. The Tunisian protests have gone through several phases in their struggle to find that perfect balance.

Muhammad Bou-aziz, a merchant, set himself on fire in front of a government building on December 17th, 2010.While selling in the local market, police approached Bo-aziz, claiming he had no licence to place a booth. The police thereafter demolished his booth and even used force against him. In complete frustration, he set himself on fire. This act sparked protests throughout Tunisia, resulting in the ouster of President Ben Ali.

The success of the Tunisian protest led Egyptians, Syrians, and others to stand against their own autocratic regimes. Uprisings sparked across the Middle East, leading to what is now known as “the Arab Spring.” Despite the hopes that the Arab Spring brought, almost all the uprisings have failed. In Egypt, the latest elections resulted in the victory of A-Sisi, who represents the old regime of Mubarak, while Assad is still in power after a decade-long civil war in Syria. Libya has become a failed state, and Iraq

The only beacon of hope for the Middle East and the Arab world to have a functioning democracy is Tunisia. Despite many setbacks along the way, Tunisia seems to be on the right track. Tunisia is attempting to create a new balance of power. Tunisia understood that it could not eradicate the Islamic values that had been encoded for generations.

Tunisia’s strategy has been to find mutual ground between the different fractions. Unlike other places, where the right wing finds mutual camp with the far right while the left wing finds mutual camp with the far right, Here, the conservatives and liberals, separated from the extreme conservatives and liberals, negotiate terms that are acceptable to both sides, casting aside the extremists and finding common ground on which the majority of the population can agree; values such as democracy, equality, and freedom, while retaining traditional Arabic and Islamic values.