It’s been nearly a decade since I watched long lines of men and women in Tunisia waiting patiently and proudly to vote in their country’s first free and fair elections. Some brought Tunisian flags to the polling stations on Oct. 23, 2011. Others brought their children to witness the historic elections, which only occurred after widespread popular protests later recognized as the start of the Arab Spring. Those protests had forced Tunisia’s increasingly despotic leader, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, into exile.
That day was the most memorable one of my tenure as U.S. ambassador to Tunisia. Today, Freedom House lists Tunisia as one of only two free countries in the Middle East and North Africa. But the United States needs to do its part to ensure the country’s transition to democracy continues apace.
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