Three years after its revolution, Tunisia has a new constitution and, by regional standards, it is a groundbreaking document. It is one of the clearest assertions of democratic principles and civil liberties ever seen in the Middle East and North Africa region. The constitution guarantees freedom of expression and political activity, and promotes gender equality. It also confirms Islam as the national religion, however, sharia is not established as the basis of law, despite the Islamist Ennhada party being the largest political force in the country.
As well as being the cradle of the Arab uprisings, Tunisia has led by example throughout the political upheaval of the past few years. Its post-revolutionary leaders have shown maturity and set aside personal ambition for the greater good of the country. They have stood firm when necessary, and equally been willing to compromise and consult public opinion to ensure the success of the political transition.
Now, Tunisia has a new constitution that sets a model for the region. A caretaker cabinet has been appointed to lead the country to elections later this year.
The progress made stands in stark contrast to the continued chaos and insecurity in Egypt and Libya. But it offers a key lesson to the other transition governments. Constitution building must not be rushed. Months, even years, of debate and negotiation are necessary for the final document to truly reflect and protect the interests of society and unite a divided nation.