Special Lecture on: Democratic Transition in Tunisia by President of Tunisia



Special lecture on Democratic Transition in Tunisia: Opportunities and Challenges, by President of Tunisia, Dr. Moncef Marzouki

Al Jazeera Center for Studies and Al Jazeera Film Festival organised a special lecture by the President of Tunisia, Dr. Mohamed Al Moncef Al Marzouki, on Democratic Transition in Tunisia: Challenges and Opportunities, at the Sheraton Hotel in Doha, on Sunday 22nd April 2012.

President, Dr. Moncef Marzouki is a former Tunisian human rights activist, physician and politician and was the leader of the CPR (Congress for the Republic Party) until he became the fifth Tunisian President since December 12, 2011. In 2001, Dr. Marzouki founded the Congress for the Republic Party (CPR), which took the second highest number of seats (29) in the October 23rd Constituent Assembly elections. According to the party, its main target is to ensure “the sovereignty of the people, the dignity of the citizen and the legitimacy of the state.”

In keeping with the topic for discussion, the special lecture covered the following aspects related to the varying aspects for Democratic Transition in Tunisia: What are the chances of a successful democratic transition in Tunisia? What are the main challenges?

• The potential for destabilisation and violence deriving from disruptive forces that are both overtly and covertly opposing democratic transition and links to the old regime;
• Attempts at destabilisation that may possibly emanate from neighbouring countries;
• The  socio-economic situation in Tunisia;
• The immediate economic impact of the crisis;
• The weakness of opposition political parties, and also the weakness of the media;
• The regional and international challenges;
• The opportunities for the democratic transitional process;
• To what extent is the democratic transitional system capable of achieving the people’s will?

 Sheikh Ahmed Bin Jassem Al Thani, Director General of Al Jazeera Network and  President, Dr. Mohamed Al Moncef Al Marzouki President of Tunisia

During the special lecture, that took place just before the closing ceremony of the annual Film Festival, President, Dr. Moncef Marzouki praised Al Jazeera’s role in the Arab Spring, asserting that only historians will be able to accentuate its people-supporting coverage.

President Dr. Marzouki also spoke about the changes taking place in Tunisia post revolution and the challenges faced by the country in this unprecedented transitional period. He discussed the inevitable changes in various fields that are required to enhance a better future for the Tunisian people.

The special event was attended by the Director General of Al Jazeera Media Network, Ahmad Bin Jassim Al Thani, Diplomatic representatives, and members of the Tunisian community in Qatar, students and the press.

President Dr. Marzouki explained that Tunisia’s judicial, educational and institutional structures are being aggressively renovated as a result of the revolution and this - counter to what many may believe - is a great step towards building a democratic and egalitarian Tunisia.

At the end of the two hour lecture, President, Dr. Marzouki announced that Tunisia intends on removing travel barriers at its borders and welcoming all Arab citizens to its country. This implies that, as of the 1st of May, citizens of Algeria will enter Tunisia using only personal identification cards while citizens of the Arabian Gulf will no longer require entry visas.