Four years after a fruit vendor's self-immolation sparked the Tunisian revolution, also known as the Jasmine Revolution, there is hope and reform for the North African nation. It has a constitution, a parliament and a run-off presidential election later this month, with money placed on the victory of a prominent human-rights activist. However, that 2009 revolt against the Ben Ali dictatorship launched uprisings across the Arab world that came to be known as the "Arab Spring."
Egypt, Syria and Libya were torn asunder. Thousands have died in the Syrian civil war as Bashar al-Assad retains his government. The Egyptian people brought down the decades-old presidency of Hosni Mubarak, but after a series of elections, military chief Abdel Fattah el-Sissi reigns over a crippled economy while activists sit in jail.
What about Tunisia or its revolutionaries created a more promising future? What will be the staying power of the "Arab Winter?" Why is it so challenging for democracy to take hold in Arab countries? Or, what is it that allows authoritarian regimes to persist?
Borzou Daragahi, covers North Africa and the Middle East for the Financial Times. He joins us from Morocco.
Bechir Blagui, Angeleno who co-founded Free Tunisia, an advocacy organization for human rights, political freedom and economic development in Tunisia; Blagui also organized a Los Angeles polling station for the Tunisian election
Frederic Wehrey, Specializes in political reform issues in the Middle East for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace - an international think tank founded in 1910