Tunisia braces for upcoming presidential elections

World Today

Tunisia braces for upcoming presidential electionsTunisia braces for upcoming presidential elections

Out of the 26 candidates running for office, only 2 are women. Women’s rights activists have hailed the move, but say there’s a need for increasing women’s representation in power to have a balanced society.

CGTN’s Adnen Chaouachi reports.

The national committee for the promotion of gender equality in the management of local affairs in Tunisia has called on candidates in the 2019 presidential election to commit to upholding the principle of gender equality and combat gender discrimination during and after the presidential campaign.

“Women are candidates, presidents of polling stations, over 49 percent of registered voters are women. Women are the pillar of the presidential election,” says Khameyel Fenniche, an outreach member for the International Foundation for Electoral Systems

Activists consider that the participation of women in political, civil, economic, social and cultural life and in the fight against all forms of discrimination against them is one of the prerogatives of the President of the Republic.

“There are not enough women in the decision-making positions although women took part in the political and democratic transition. Gender balance must be guaranteed by the new president,” says Lina Ben Mhenni, a women’s rights activist in Tunis.

VO: Many voters believe that the result of the Sunday poll could have a direct impact on the social and economic conditions of Tunisian women.

One voter says, ”It is important to have a woman candidate or president but the most important thing is that the next president gives priority to women’s affairs and quest for gender equality. Competence is the first criteria.”

Over 100 civil society organization have expressed their commitment to ensure the effective participation of women in political life particularly in the management of local affairs, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution, the Local Authorities Code and international conventions ratified by Tunisia.

During the 2014 presidential elections, over 1 million women voted for late President Beji Caied Essebssi. Their votes were decisive in the run-up to the Carthage Palace. This time, 1.5 million people are casting their ballots for the first time including over 600.000 women.