Reuters

(Reuters)

Tunisian National Dialogue Awarded Nobel Peace Prize

Politics Dow Jones Newswires

The Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet, a civil-society group comprising labor-union and business leaders, human-rights activists and lawyers, was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

The quartet won the prize for its "decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011," Nobel Committee Chairwoman Kaci Kullmann Five said.

Tunisia, where the Arab Spring began in 2010 before spreading to neighboring countries, has been a rare area of stability and democratic advance in a region lacerated by war, chaos and one of the world's worst refugee crisis in decades.

Ms. Five said the committee had no illusion over the many challenges Tunisia is facing but hoped the North African country could serve as a role model.

"No countries are similar; no structures are similar," she said. "But we hope that the values and processes that have worked in Tunisia could be an inspiration to others."

The quartet includes the Tunisian General Labour Union, known as UGTT; the Tunisian Union of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts, known as UTICA; the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.

"The quartet exercised its role as a mediator and driving force to advance peaceful democratic development in Tunisia with great moral authority," Ms. Five said.

UGTT leader Houcine Abassi told the Associated Press he was "overwhelmed" by the award.

"It's a prize that crowns more than two years of efforts deployed by the quartet when the country was in danger on all fronts," he said.

The Arab Spring began in late 2010 when protests broke out in Tunisia after a 26-year-old street vendor immolated himself to defy the regime of Tunisian President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. Mr. Ben Ali's term ended on Jan. 14, 2011, when he was hurried into a plane by his wife, and fled to Saudi Arabia.

The committee made its pick from a list of 273 candidates, including U.S. former intelligence contractor Edward Snowden, Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, Congolese gynecologist Denis Mukwege, Pope Francis and Russian independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta.

The Peace Prize concludes a week during which Nobel institutions have awarded other prizes, including science and literature.

Write to Kjetil Malkenes Hovland at kjetilmalkenes.hovland@wsj.com

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