Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) released the following statement marking the five year anniversary of the popular uprising in Tunisia that ousted former President Zine el-Abedin Ben Ali, paving the way for the emergence of the region’s first democratically elected government: 

“The self-immolation of a Tunisian street vendor sparked protests across the region.  Five years later, Tunisia has stood out as a model for peaceful democratic development – successfully completing free and fair elections for parliament and the presidency, instituting market-based economic reforms, and advancing civil liberties.  Tunisia stands out in a region beset by repression, chaos and economic stagnation.    

“Tunisia must continue on its democratic path, addressing the underlying social and economic issues that gave rise to the so-called Arab Spring but the government’s resilience in the face of regional terrorism and is encouraging and should be supported.”