Tunisian mediator group wins Nobel Peace Prize for aiding move to democracy

Fri Oct 9, 2015 11:17am EDT
 
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By Gwladys Fouche and Tarek Amara

OSLO/TUNIS (Reuters) - Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for helping build democracy in the birthplace of the Arab Spring, an example of peaceful transition in a region otherwise struggling with violence and upheaval.

The quartet of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers was formed in the summer of 2013.

It helped support the democratization process when it was in danger of collapsing, the Norwegian Nobel committee said in its citation.

"This is a great joy and pride for Tunisia, but also a hope for the Arab World," UGTT chief Hussein Abassi told Reuters.

"It's a message that dialogue can lead us on the right path. This prize is a message for our region to put down arms and sit and talk at the negotiation table."

With a new constitution, free elections and a compromise politics between Islamist and secular leaders, Tunisia has been held up as a model of how to make the transition to a democracy from dictatorship.

"This a brilliant example, I think Tunisia is one of the Arab countries that has done best since the so-called Arab Spring and the upheavals in that part of the world," said Ahmad Fawzi, chief U.N. spokesman in Geneva.

The Nobel Peace Prize, worth 8 million Swedish crowns ($972,000), will be presented in Oslo on Dec. 10.   Continued...

 
Wided Bouchamaoui, president of Tunisia's Employers' Organisation (UTICA) and a member of Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet, talks to journalists in her office in Tunis, Tunisia October 9, 2015. REUTERS/Zoubeir Souissi