Surprise Peace Prize Winners Helped Build a Democracy
Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet a surprise winner
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 9, 2015 4:28 AM CDT
Updated Oct 9, 2015 6:11 AM CDT
Supporters of Beji Caid Essebsi react outside his party headquarters after he was elected Tunisian president on Dec. 22, 2014, in Tunis.   (AP Photo/Ilyess Osmane)
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(Newser) – Pope Francis and Angela Merkel were among the early favorites, but this year's Nobel Peace Prize has gone to a group that hasn't been in the headlines as much: the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. "After the Arab Spring in Tunisia in 2010-2011, the Quartet paved the way for a peaceful dialogue between the citizens," tweeted the Nobel organization. Before the announcement in Oslo, the five-member committee hadn't given any hints as to which of the 273 nominees, which included 205 people and 68 organizations, would be this year's winner, the Guardian reports.

The quartet is a coalition of four groups: the Tunisian General Labor Union; the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade, and Handicrafts; the Tunisian Human Rights League; and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers, the AP reports, noting that the prize will be seen as an enormous victory for Tunisia, which has been shaken by two major terrorist attacks this year. In its citation, the Nobel committee praised the group for its contribution to "the building of a pluralistic democracy" in Tunisia. The committee's chairman says the group helped Tunisia pull back from the brink of civil war in 2013, the Guardian reports. (Malala Yousafzai became the youngest-ever winner last year, when she shared the prize with a children's rights activist from India.)
 

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