FRI 15 - 2 - 2019
Date: Jul 4, 2018
Source: The Daily Star
Islamist-backed candidate becomes first woman mayor of Tunis
Agence France Presse
TUNIS: Islamist-backed candidate Souad Abderrahim defeated a city official who served under ousted despot Zine el Abidine Ben Ali Tuesday to become the first woman mayor of the Tunisian capital.

"I dedicate this victory to all Tunisian women," Abderrahim said. "My first task will be to improve the face of Tunis."

Deteriorating waste disposal services have blighted the capital since Ben Ali's 2011 overthrow in the first of that year's Arab Spring uprisings.

The 53-year-old manager of a pharmaceutical firm, has risen to the fore as one of the new faces of veteran Islamist party Ennahdha as it seeks to modernise its image.

Although she is a member of the party's politburo, she stood as an independent in the May 6 municipal election, in which she headed the Ennahdha list.

With 21 seats out of 60, the list emerged as the largest on the city council but well short of a majority.

Municipal elections in Tunisia were marked by low turnout by a public facing ongoing economic hardship and frustrated with political elites.

Across the country independent lists took the highest number of seats, winning 32.9 percent nationwide.

Abderrahim was elected mayor in a second round of voting by councillors which was boycotted by left-wing and centrist parties who refused to support the candidates of either of the main parties.

She defeated Kamel Idir, candidate of the Nidaa Tounes party of President Beji Caid Essebsi, by 26 votes to 22.

An activist during her university years, Abderrahim sat within the Ennahdha bloc of a new constituent assembly between 2011 and 2014.

During that time she caused controversy for her criticism of single mothers, before disappearing from the political scene until the May municipal elections.

The new mayor rejected the "Islamist" label, asserting she wanted to work with all parties.

"We have chosen transparency as a slogan," Abderrahim said.

The Ennahdha party in 2016 acknowledged the separation of religion and politics, describing itself as "democratic Muslim".

As municipal councils are being formed across Tunisia, observers say the proportion of female mayors could be relatively high.

According to the country's electoral commission (ISIE), women made up 47 percent of those elected in the recent local polls.

Readers Comments (0)
Add your comment

Enter the security code below*

 Can't read this? Try Another.
Related News
Tunisia govt, teachers reach deal to end strike
Tunisian government agrees deal with union to avert strikes
Tunisia school mum gets suspended sentence for racism
Tunisia calls for Arab League to readmit Syria
Nationwide strike paralyzes Tunisia
Related Articles
Can Tunisia’s democracy survive the turmoil?
Tunisian politics between crisis and normalization
A community approach to militants’ rehab in Tunisia
Barriers to Tunisia’s security and defense reform
An eye to the future: The Tunisian Startup Act
Copyright 2019 . All rights reserved