This year’s Nobel Peace Prize was a surprise even to the recipients, who brokered a political transition in Tunisia. It was also an inspired choice.

In Tunisia, as in Egypt, the strongest political force to emerge after the Arab Spring revolution was an Islamist group called Ennahda. Ennahda won elections, formed a government and sought to Islamize the nation. By 2013, the country seemed poised to slide in chaos. After two opposition leaders were killed, tens of thousands took to the streets, clashing with police.

This is when the unlikely alliance known as the National Dialogue Quartet formed. The quartet – Tunisia’s main labor union, its main employers group, its lawyers’ association and the Tunisian Human Rights League – mediated between the main political blocs, headed by Ennahda and Nidaa Tounes, a party formed by stalwarts from the era of dictatorship. They agreed on a plan for a transitional government and elections, which Nidaa Tounes won last year. In the new unity government, Ennahda has a Cabinet minister.

It’s hard to exaggerate the symbolic importance that a stable, prosperous democracy in Tunisia could have for people in places with a fragile monarchy (say, Morocco) or repressive dictatorship (Egypt, for one). So Friday’s prize should serve as a reminder to boost international support for Tunisia’s battered economy.

Tunisia’s success will rise or fall above all on the ability of its main political factions to share power and compromise. For making that possible, Tunisia’s quartet richly deserves its recognition.