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Many significant things are taking place around the Arab world these days, some violent, some peaceful, some within one country and some across several different countries.However, the most important and truly historic recent event must be the passage of the new constitution two weeks ago by Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly.This marked a moment of profound significance for the entire Arab world, because it was the first time in modern or ancient history that ordinary citizens of an Arab society agreed on the substance of their constitution through a consultative process that achieved a credible national consensus after significant debate and compromise. Tunisia was the first Arab country ever to draft its own constitution – the qanoon al-dawla al-tunisiyya, or "law of the Tunisian state" – which came into force in 1861, and, fittingly, it is now the first Arab country to draw up a meaningful and legitimate constitution after a popular revolution that removed a long-serving autocratic government. I have always felt that if the Arab world had just one country with a credible, homegrown pluralistic democracy, then other Arab societies would seek to emulate this historic leap forward. The elected representatives of Tunisia's National Constituent Assembly took two years and three months to complete their work.
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