The National Dialogue is a quartet of the key organizations of the Tunisian civil society formed to surmount the political crisis that has followed the Jasmine Revolution of 2011. The National Dialogue is represented by the core associates: the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, the Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers (M’rad 25).
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The quartet was established to respond to the tumult, which began when Tunisian youth began to protest against the poor living conditions and unemployment. On January 14, 2011, the violent change of the government took place, the consequence of which was the impeachment of the President by the Constitutional Council. Over the following three years after the regime change in Tunisia, the country did not achieve the long-awaited stability and security.
The cause for the political tension was the confrontation of the secular opposition and the moderate Islamists that came to power at that time. However, through the successive actions, the National Dialogue managed to prevent civil war in Tunisia and to ensure compliance with the fundamental democratic rights of the entire population. The results of these actions were the parliamentary elections in November and the presidential elections in October 2014.
Aims of the National Dialogue
One of the primary aims of the National Dialogue was to mediate a non-violent and seminal outlet of the crisis for the country (M’rad 22). The next aims were to design the new constitution and proffer the transitional government. The National Dialogue strived for relieving the tension that existed between the society and the associates that came to power.
The Dialogue tried to build on national solidarity and alleviate the exit from the crisis. Another important aim that remains acute is facilitating accordance with the current priorities of the nation, such as employment and stability, among others. Derailing the democratic transition from the critical political situation and destabilization to a stable setup is the current objective of the Dialogue (M’rad 18). The aims stated by the civil organizations that form the National Dialogue imply that various parties are involved in the processes and cooperate with the government, authorities, and officials. In general, the overall aim can be defined as growth and shared prosperity in the country.
The author conducted a profound investigation to be able to compile the document about the National Dialogue in Tunisia. It should be noted that apart from the political representatives, the author and the contributors interviewed the people from the public (M’rad 7). The writing dwells on the firsthand information from the parties engaged in the National Dialogue (interviews with leaders, members of political parties, the quartet’s delegates, and so on).
Also, the document reveals the information collected and investigated by the individuals who observed the dialogue outside the political system. The authors amplified the accumulated information by researching the focus groups that consisted of people from different regions of Tunisia (M’rad 7). Thus, the document provided a broader perspective on the reported issue.
Regarding the perspectives, the intended track for the National Dialogue is to continue boosting security and establishing democracy in the country. Notwithstanding the barriers and obstacles that need to be surmounted when promoting democracy, the country aspires to steady the democratic politics amidst the economic hurdles and domestic instability (M’rad 26). The country seeks to complete the structural reforms, to stimulate economic growth, and to facilitate sustainable growth.
The expository rhetoric mode can be evidenced throughout the document. It elucidates the notion of the National Dialogue, provides detailed information about this concept, and analyzes the gathered data from the surveys, interviews, and researches. In this expository, the authors explicitly stated the evidence and justified it while deliberating its relevance and validity. The document appeals to both facts and opinions to provide an overview of the core messages. The expository shall be considered as credible as it presents different opinions (public and private) while remaining unbiased.
Scientific Theory, Ideological Stance, and Omission Made by the Author
The book displays the crucial scientific theory of the social dialogue, which implies responding to the challenges faced in the labor market in the post-crisis period (M’rad 66). The social dialogue occurs on the three fundamental levels: local, regional, and national. It should be noted that many issues appeared due to the inefficient functioning of the labor market.
It brought unemployment and poor working conditions, financial unsustainability, and, subsequently, poor social dialogue. Thus, it was decided to implement the strategy that strengthens the institutions, modernizes the governance, and improves the legal framework as well as the labor inspection. The described guidelines were to promote the efficient and inclusive recovery of the country (M’rad 37). This described scientific concept helped to bridge the differences and difficulties and to accelerate the country’s development. The scientific concept of social dialogue paves the way for progress in the priority areas.
Nevertheless, the author has omitted the concept of tripartism when appealing to the category described above. Because this ideological notion is also a part of the concept of the social dialogue, it is worth noting that tripartism promotes the dialogue at the national, regional, and local levels as well. It facilitates cooperation in response to the shortage of work options, and it strengthens the potential of the civil servants and employer organizations that play an important role in the process of the dialogue.
Tripartism also helps to improve the governance of the labor market through effective interaction, industrial relations, labor law supervision, modernization of the labor market structure, and the strengthening of the capacity of the institutions. Thus, social dialogue and tripartism, in particular, are the ideological stances that promote the interaction and cooperation of the ministries, unions, regional authorities, labor inspectors, workers, and society.
The book translates the statements of the representatives or those who took part in the National Dialogue; consequently, it was crucial to analyze and impartially present the information. The book objectively presents the information, eliminating any evaluation or characteristics attribution. The book is merely the reflection of the participants or other representatives rather than the personalized analysis. All of the data are strongly supported by the evidence and reliable sources documented in the body of the book. Thus, it can be stated that the document contains no contradictions to the known historical conditions or events, and there is no reason to question the way the information is presented or the book’s validity and credibility.
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Public and Private Accounts of the Events
The research on the National Dialogue included the results of the focus group interviews, which were aimed at obtaining information and knowledge from the representatives of the civil society. They were asked about the overall principles of the National Dialogue and the legitimacy of the processes and their participants (the quartet and the political parties). According to the survey, the two issues have caused controversy in the opinions of the focus group participants. As for their perceptions of the political parties that either took part in the National Dialogue or were not involved in it, some major differences can be noticed.
Those who questioned the National Dialogue and perceived it as a solution imposed from abroad to reconcile the political forces and to give them the political weight tended to believe that none of the parties played a significant role (M’rad 68). However, all the participants of the focus groups believed that the main result of the National Dialogue was the transformation of the political map of the country as well as the intensification of the polarization of the political arena (M’rad 69). Many interviewees perceived the National Dialogue as a way to reconcile the political opposition and to allow them to confirm their leadership positions.
Regarding the further development or enhancement of the National Dialogue, the interviewed participants expressed the necessity for the creation of certain conditions that will guarantee the transparency, greater involvement of the civil society, and political decentralization of the decision-making (M’rad 69).
However, it is worth noting that one of the major concerns is the need to change the purpose of the national dialogue, which should be focused on pressing issues such as the economic crisis, social justice and equality, and regional development. Some participants also perceived the Dialogue as a destabilizing element and a source of conflicts in society. Nonetheless, the representatives of the Dialogue did not enter the aforementioned issues as foreground. Subsequently, it is the main difference between the public and private accounts of the events.
Questions and Sources to Answer Them
The book raised various questions about the practices and understandings of the government and social science at that time. For instance, the government’s legitimacy was highly questioned along with how the representatives had been appointed. Further, the finalization of the Constitution was heavily debated. The political regime and the rights and freedoms of the civil society were discussed in the Constitution; however, they remained unclear and uncertain (M’rad 34).
The legislative and presidential election matters were among those questions that required responses. Finally, the question of the National Dialogue institutionalization was typical at that time. A variety of resources need to be consulted and analyzed to address those questions. Further, the representatives of the Ministries and Unions, the personalities that are active participants of the National Dialogues, and the civil society representatives have to be surveyed to reply to the questions. Also, the vast amount of data should be gathered and analyzed to reflect on those questions.
The National Dialogue in Tunisia was created when the process of democratization was under threat of destruction due to the wave of political assassinations and other social unrest. The quartet prevented the possible transformation of the country into a dictatorial state and enabled the preservation of the democracy. Despite the disagreement of some representatives with the new policy, the quartet was able to create a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in a non-violent way.
M’rad, Hatem. The National Dialogue in Tunisia, Tunis: Nirvana, 2015. Print.