In 2013, Tunisia’s democratic transition was under serious threat. The assassination of opposition politicians, Chokri Belaid (February 2013) and Mohamed Brahmi (July 2013), precipitated widespread protest and social unrest, which led to the collapse of the government of Hamdi Jebali and paralyzed the National Constituent Assembly. After President Mohamed Morsi was ousted in Egypt in July 2013, many feared that Tunisia would see a return to authoritarianism or a descent into anarchy. Trust between political parties was at an all-time low and political polarization was seemingly entrenched. Few believed that the legislative and presidential elections scheduled for 2014 would take place.
In this context, the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue (HD), in consultation with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, explored the possibility of a dialogue on the electoral process between Tunisian political parties.
Following this, in a distinct process facilitated by a quartet of Tunisian civil society institutions, participants agreed that a voluntary Code of Conduct for political parties might be a useful tool for reducing tensions and improving behavior, on the condition that the Code emerged from a genuinely consultative process with the political parties and was subsequently followed up through various measures—unlike that which was developed for the 2011 elections.
Over the course of the next several months, the parties held seven rounds of interparty dialogue which in 2014 resulted in an agreement entitled the Charter of Honour for Tunisian Elections and Referendums.