Dutch ELDR Party Vice President Lousewies van der Laan served as an election observer during the historic and first free parliamentary elections in Tunisia on 23 October 2011. Still in Tunisia, Lousewies van der Laan commented: "We congratulate the Tunisian people with an orderly election process which belies the fact that in January this country was still a dictatorship.
Says Van der Laan: "The high turnout and high level of trust in the process are a testament to the preparations and the commitment of Tunisians to a better future.
Elections are a necessary, but not sufficient part of a democracy. What happens next, most notably in the area of human rights and the rule law, will determine whether Tunisia can develop into a stable and prosperous democracy. Tunisia can become a leading nation and example for the region if it can build up a free and fair society.
We stand ready to assist the newly elected assembly and civil society groups to consolidate the aims of the revolution into a long term sustainable democracy. Most notably we look forward to working on the promotion of liberal values, including equality between the sexes, effective protection of human rights and accountable public institutions. We will judge all parties on their actions, not just their words."