"Tunisia is in its fourth year of transition after the 2011 'Jasmine Revolution,' and it has so far continued to avoid the types of chaos and/or authoritarian resurrections that have affected other 'Arab Spring' countries. Legislative and presidential elections scheduled for late 2014 are expected to put an end to a series of transitional governments. On January 26, 2014, Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly voted overwhelmingly to adopt a new constitution. This is widely viewed as a landmark accomplishment, given the difficulty of achieving political consensus, tensions between Islamists and secularists, and ongoing social and economic unrest. The new constitution asserts Tunisia's Muslim identity, but its framing--creating a civil state and provisions on civil liberties--is seen as a victory for secularists. The vote followed a political agreement under which Tunisia's main Islamist party, Al Nahda, agreed to give up its leadership of the government in favor of a technocratic prime minister in the lead-up to the elections. Tunisia has a small territory, a relatively well-educated and homogenous population, and a history of encouraging women's freedoms. Still, Tunisians face significant challenges in reforming state institutions, addressing economic woes, and responding to security concerns. Ansar al Sharia in Tunisia, a U.S.-designated foreign terrorist organization, was reportedly involved in an attack on the U.S. embassy and American school in Tunis on September 14, 2012--three days after the attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The military has targeted terrorist cells near the Algerian border and in the remote south, which reportedly serves as a regional transit point for weapons and fighters."
CRS Report for Congress, RS21666
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html