GENEVA, Switzerland, January 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- New Constitution a defining moment for democracy in Tunisia – The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) has today congratulated Tunisia on the adoption of the country's new Constitution which enshrines religious freedom and equality between men and women.
In a letter to the Tunisian National Constituent Assembly, IPU President Abdelwahad Radi warmly welcomed the development, saying the adoption would mark the day when the country was “provided a firm basis for developing a modern democratic State.”
The new Constitution, adopted by an overwhelming majority (200 votes out of 216), was not only agreed by consensus but also represents the diverse groups and beliefs in Tunisian society. It was “an enormous achievement,” President Radi said.
He applauded the members of the National Constituent Assembly for having “so ably met the expectations of the Tunisian people.”
In particular, the IPU President highlighted the aspects of the Constitution that will have a far-reaching impact on democracy in Tunisia.
“The guarantee of religious freedom, equality between men and women and making the State accountable for the protection of women against violence, are fundamental cornerstones of democracy. They are part of the core beliefs and aspirations of our organization of which Tunisia is a member,” he said.
The inclusion in the new Constitution of a provision guaranteeing equal representation of men and women in parliament and other elected institutions was particularly noted by IPU.
Since the political changes that began in Tunisia late in 2011, IPU has actively engaged with authorities, women politicians and non-governmental organizations to ensure a new legal framework that would clearly reaffirm the principles of freedom of conscience and belief and gender equality.
IPU stands by to provide any support and assistance Tunisia may require to make this widely supported Constitution a reality for all the Tunisian people.