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Tunisia assembly passes new constitution
Jan 28, 2014

Tunisia’s assembly passes nation’s new democratic constitution by 200 out of 216 votes. 

Salient features are as follows:

The new document guarantees basic freedoms and gender equality. It guarantees freedom of worship but says Islam is the state religion. It also forbids "attacks on the sacred", which analysts say is open to interpretation. The text also recognizes equality between men and women for the first time.

The new constitution sets out to make the North African country of 11 million people a democracy, with a civil state whose laws are not based on Islamic law, unlike many other Arab constitutions. An entire chapter of the document, some 28 articles, is dedicated to protecting citizens' rights, including protection from torture, the right to due process, and freedom of worship. It guarantees equality between men and women before the law and the state commits itself to protecting women's rights.

It also bans incitement to violence and declaring a Muslim an apostate a fallen Muslim which leaves them open to death threats.

It has been called one of the most progressive constitutions in the Arab world and involved lengthy negotiations between an Islamist-dominated government and the largely secular opposition.

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