Despite Tunisia’s remarkable transition from dictatorship to democracy following the Tunisian Revolution, only a few of the hotly debated articles in the country’s new constitution have been analyzed by scholars. This article examines one of those under-analyzed constitutional provisions: Article 39, on education, whose language on religious and national values was repeatedly contested throughout the two-year drafting process. Using internal National Constituent Assembly documents and delegate voting records, the article explains how the education article transformed dramatically throughout drafting, ending in a controversial last-minute compromise accepted on the final day of voting. It provides insight on the broader constitution, which has been criticized for inconsistency, by showing how opposing interests largely amended the article's language into ambiguity. It also shows that the nca can be used as a model for exploring the convoluting impact quick votes in a constitution-making body’s plenary assembly can have on work produced by the body’s specialized committees.
Marks20149. The al-Nahda members of the Rights and Freedoms Committee were Farida Labidi the chair Ahmed Smiai Najib Mrad Mounira Omri Monia Ibrahim Mahmoud Essghaier Mahmoud Gouiaa Ali Faris and Salma Sarsout.
Ginsburg Elkins and Blount2009215; Stefan Voigt "The consequences of popular participation in constitutional choice—toward a comparative analysis" in Deliberation and Decision Anne Van Aaken Christian List and Christoph Luetge eds. (Aldershot uk: Ashgate 2004) 219–220.