After the Arab Spring: The Islamists’ Compromise in Tunisia

Issue Date October 2015
Volume 26
Issue 4
Page Numbers 110-124
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By voting for the Tunisia’s new constitution in January 2014, the Islamist party Nahda accepted many principles that were in contradiction with Islamist ideology. Most importantly, the party accepted the principle of freedom of consciousness and the absence of a reference to Sharia. This paper argues that, contrary to many theories in the field, the Islamists conceded solely out of necessity. However, after the concessions the leadership of the party uncovered new interpretations of Islam and Islamism in order to persuade the party members to support the constitution. This way, the Islamists unwillingly brought about a secularization of the political sphere in Tunisia.