Meet the ‘first woman in history’ to be elected mayor of an Arab capital


The Tunisian people have elected the capital’s first female mayor.

Souad Abderrahim was officially elected mayor of Tunis, winning 33.8 per cent of the vote during municipal elections in May, and then the vote of 26 municipal councillors against her opponent’s 22.

The 53-year-old beat Kamel Idir, a candidate of the Nidaa Tounes party - founded by the Tunisian president - running as an independent under the ‘Muslims Democrat’ party Ennahda, Middle East Eye reports.

She told AFP:

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

The party won 25 per cent of the votes and 21 out of 60 council seats in Tunis during May elections.

Tunisians are praising Abderrahim, who is head of a pharmaceutical company. on making history for another reason – being the first female mayor of an Arab capital.

Abderrahim told IFM radio station:

We want to give the Tunisian woman her rights, the woman whose progressive image we’re always trying to sell.

We’re always saying that the Tunisian woman is able to take on any job and that the Tunisian woman is an activist and is on the front lines.

I consider this a source of pride for the Tunisian woman. To become the first female sheikh of Tunis can only be recorded as Tunisia making history on this front.

Abderrahim is the first elected mayor of an Arab capital, though there are two other female mayors worth noting: Layla Mohammed, who became co-mayor of the Syrian town of Tal Abyad, and Zekra Alwach, who was appointed mayor of Iraq’s capital Baghdad - the first woman to hold such a position in the country’s 1,250 year history.

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