Tunisia's dictatorial President, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, has fled the country, followed soon after by his Prime Minister. The report is that this happened because the army commanders refused to shoot protesters. Now the 77-year-old Speaker of Parliament has assumed the leadership, following the rules laid down in the Constitution, and has promised to hold quick elections.
It is a moment of great promise. A thuggish and corrupt regime has been overthrown by a mostly peaceful protest movement. Tunisia has one of the best educated populations in the Arab world, and close ties to France. People are saying that there is a chance for real democracy.
On the other hand the main grievance of the mostly young protesters was the lack of jobs, and free elections won't do anything to help with that. Tunisians may have won their freedom at last; but building decent lives remains a long and hard struggle.