Trajectories of Change in Post-2011: Challenges and Prospects, Jochen Lobah,Hamza Tayebi, Editör, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Rabat, ss.28-44, 2017
Contrary to the mainstream scholarship on persistent authoritarianism and ‘Arab exceptionalism’, the year
2011 witnessed a set of revolts that broke out in Tunisia and spread to other Arab countries in the region.
These revolts raised many doubts and questions on the existing literature on this region. To some political
scientists, the fundamental question arose as regards to whether the Arab revolts could be handled within a
fourth wave of democratization or these revolts indicate a temporary breakup from the long-entrenched
authoritarian regimes. Six years after these uprisings, Tunisia proved to be the only country that moved
towards democratization among the countries swept by the Arab uprisings. In the post-authoritarian Tunisia,
despite several actors’ engagement and a vibrant multiparty politics, much of the credit could be attributed to
political Islamists who have played a critical role in the political transformation of the country. In the first
election held after Ben Ali’s fall, Ennahda Party, borne out of an underground political Islamist movement that
was for long suppressed under Ben Ali regime, gained an electoral victory. However, unlike the other Islamist
movements in the region, Ennahda leadership’s decisions, priorities and preferences contributed to the success
of the Tunisian transition, to a great extent. In that respect, this paper takes a closer look at the peculiarities
of Ennahda movement, its historical evolution and at critical moments how the party leadership’s farsighted
vision contributed to democratic transition in Tunisia.