Tunisia's young democracy has never seemed to be in so much jeopardy. The political opposition is accusing the ruling Ennahda party of the assassination of Chokri Belaid, a popular figure on the political left who was murdered Feb. 6 in front of his home, and hundreds of Tunisians are holding ongoing protests to demand the government’s resignation. Several parties, including one of Ennahda's coalition partners, are threatening to pull out of the Constituent Assembly, which is tasked with rewriting Tunisia's constitution.
The current political turmoil is an outgrowth of Tunisia’s many challenges, which have multiplied over the past few months and culminated in Belaid’s assassination last week. Yet it is becoming increasingly obvious that many of the revolution’s achievements remain in place amid the current crisis and in the face of broader political and socio-economic tensions.
Politically, the Ennahda government’s single most important shortcoming has been its failure to demonstrate a real commitment to combating rising religious extremism in the country. Salafist groups, some violent, have emerged throughout the country, increasingly posing a threat to the security of the state and its people. News reports about jihadist training camps on Tunisian soil are multiplying, and ongoing illegal weapons trafficking from Libya and Algeria keeps radical groups supplied with arms.