In October I spend a week in Tunis at a DAAD funded workshop organized by the University of Tübingen (Chair of Prof Diez), SSC Europe and the Université de Tunis faculty of social sciences and law.
The workshop was held at the Université de Tunis and half of the participants were invited from germany whereas the other half consisted of graduate students in an international law program at the faculty for social sciences and law in Tunis.
The first part of the workshop involved a theoretical input to constitution giving processes and some case studies.
In the second part of the workshop the participants were teamed up in german-tunisian pairs to represent one of th eparties within the constitutional assembly of Tunisia. We were then supposed to act as this actor within the simulation of the constitutional assembly. In this simulation we debated crucial party of the latest constituional draft version and changed it according to the procedures laid out for the real constiotutional assembly.
In the third part we presented our results to two representatives from the real assembly one from the islamist majority party Enhada and another from a smaller leftist movement. The debate was interesting and informative.
During our weeklong workshop there was also some politics going on outside of the classroom as most students went on strike in response to an aggravation of the study curricilum by the interim education minister (Enhada). The passionate debates on teh campus were at the same time somehow exemplarily of the main cleveages that run through the Tunisian society (rural-urban & secular-islamist) and hence to some extend worrying, while also a good sign that such political issues are politicized in such a way.
All in all it was an amazing week and I got to know a lot of interesting people. The challenges on the way toward a new constituion for Tunisia remain manifold but I am convinced that a consensus can be reached within the foreseeable future.
For whoever is interested in the political developments of the Tunisian constituion giving process I reccomend the website from la marsad (french only).
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is a researcher and PhD student in political science, freelance journalist and photographer interested in Democracy, Transition, Authoritarianism and Security especially in the MIddle East and North Africa.