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To many international observers, Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution is best known as the catalyst for the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings across the Middle East and North Africa – popular demonstrations which, by and large, fell short of their lofty aspirations.
But, for Tunisians, the legacy of the Jasmine Revolution is much rosier. The country last year held its first open and democratic election since independence from France in 1956, swearing in 88-year-old Beji Caid Essebsi as its new president.
The Economist hailed the vote as “proof of a precious truth: the Arab world can change for the better, and Islam can be reconciled with democracy”. Such idealism may be hard to stomach when considering the disastrous effects of the Arab Spring elsewhere – unleashing civil wars in Syria, Libya and Yemen, and replacing one dictator with another in Egypt – but it is a kernel of hope that must be preserved...