The winners of the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet members, listen to a speech by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi during a ceremony on November 9, 2015 at the Carthage Palace in Tunis
Tunis (AFP) - Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi Monday hailed the Nobel Peace Prize awarded last month to the National Dialogue Quartet, saying it saved the country from "the spectre of civil war".
The prize "paid tribute to the value of dialogue and proved that peaceful revolutions are possible", Essebsi said at a ceremony at the Carthage palace in the outskirts of Tunis.
On October 9, the Nobel committee announced that the 2015 award would go to the National Dialogue Quartet as an "encouragement to the Tunisian people" and as a beacon to the war-torn Middle East, North Africa and beyond.
The Quartet comprises the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), the Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA), the Tunisian Human Rights League and the Tunisian Order of Lawyers.
Formed in 2013 when the process of democratisation was in danger of collapsing because of widespread social unrest, the quartet established an alternative, peaceful political process as Tunisia was on the brink of civil war, the Nobel committee said.
The group "was able to save the country from the spectre of civil war and from chaos", Essebsi said on Tuesday.
This year's peace prize award had already drawn praise from around the globe, with UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailing the quartet's work as "an inspiration to the region and the world".
US President Barack Obama called it "a tribute to the perseverance and courage of the Tunisian people who, in the face of political assassinations and terrorist attacks, have come together in a spirit of unity, compromise and tolerance."
Tunisia has managed to steer a difficult political transition arising from the 2011 revolution that sparked the Arab Spring to overcome several political crises, but it is still struggling to restart its economy.
Prime Minister Habib Essid, who attended Monday's ceremony, and his team have been the subject of harsh criticism over the lack of results in that regard.
Tunisia was able to adopt a constitution in January 2014 and held its first democratic elections at the end of last year.
But its democracy remains fragile, with the country rocked by a series of high-profile political killings and bloody recent attacks by Islamic State militants that killed 22 people, mostly tourists, at a Tunis museum in March, and another 38 foreigners in a beach resort massacre in June.