The Norwegian Nobel committees has decided that the Nobel Peace Prize for 2015 is to be awarded to the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.
The group is dedicated to creating dialogue between disparate elements of Tunisian society. It said that the quartet helped to establish a political process when the country “was on the brink of civil war”.
Tunisia’s uprising was the first and most successful of the Arab Spring. While other countries – Libya, Egypt, Yemen and Syria reverted to authoritarian rule or descended into violence and chaos, Tunisia managed a successful transition to democracy.
It quickly spread to a number of countries in North Africa and the Middle East. In many of these countries, the struggle for democracy and fundamental rights has come to a standstill or suffered setbacks. Tunisia, however, has seen a democratic transition based on a vibrant civil society with demands for respect for basic human rights.
Tunisia’s revolution began in late 2010 and led to the ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in January 2011, followed by the country’s first free democratic elections last year.
Kaci Kullman Five, the chairwoman of the Nobel peace committee, said the Quartet’s role in Tunisia’s democratisation was “directly comparable to the peace conferences mentioned by Alfred Nobel in his will”.