Supporters of Nidaa Tounes wave flags in Tunis, December 21, 2014.
Zoubeir Souissi / Courtesy Reuters

After three years of battles in the streets, in the National Constituent Assembly, and at the ballot box, Tunisia has officially completed its formal transition to democracy—to the acclaim of observers gratified that the Arab Spring kept its promise in at least one country. What is emerging at the end of the process, however, is not a government that is rooted in the revolution and likely to forge ahead with bold reforms, but an uneasy amalgam of old-regime and Islamist politicians, with a few leftist parties and trade unions thrown in for good measure. In other words, the 2011 uprising did not give rise to new political parties or movements. And the young people who played an important part in the protests feel sidelined, at least if their low turnout at the polls is any indication. Nevertheless, this is probably as successful a transition as it was realistic to expect.

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