Tunis gets first woman mayor


A woman has been elected mayor of the Tunisian capital, Tunis, for the first time since the position was created over a century ago.

Souad Abderrahim, 53, who works as a manager at a pharmaceutical firm, dedicated her victory to Tunisian women everywhere.

Ms Abderrahim was the candidate for the Islamist party, Ennahdha – one of the partners in Tunisia’s coalition government.

Many other towns have also elected female mayors in the local elections.

The BBC’s North Africa Correspondent says the victory is a milestone, even as Tunisia is reputed for having more progressive policies around women’s rights than its neighbours.

At university, Ms Abderrahim was active in student politics and “already had a strong character and leadership qualities,” a fellow student is quoted as saying in French-language newspaper Le Parisien.

The same news site says Ms Abderrahim has opted for a more liberal stance in recent years, seeking to distance herself from comments she made in 2011 that civil liberties should be tempered with “customs, traditions and a respect for good morals”.

Last month’s municipal elections were the first since the 2011 uprising which sparked the Arab Spring.

The polls were described as an important step to complete Tunisia’s transition towards democracy.