On Sunday 15th September, Tunisians went to the polls to choose their next president. The second free presidential elections in the country’s history are a major test for the young democracy and the position of women in Tunisian politics since the 2011 Arab Spring.
Support for a Tunisian democracy has drastically decreased, and experts expect an unpredictable outcome. Many citizens are frustrated by political corruption and economic stagnation. Tunisia is marked by high rates of unemployment and a huge urban and rural divide. The only success story of the Arab Spring is experiencing a test of its young democracy. Especially the young population of the country was missing from the polls this weekend and the voter turnout has not succeeded 45%.
Tunisia is often seen as the most progressive country in the region and has a record of empowering women and abolishing restrictive laws to promote gender equality. However, as many women activists state, cultural barriers to women’s rights still remain.
Democracy remains a very important element in strengthening women’s capacity in Tunisian and supporting their quest for equality. Therefore, Gender Concerns expresses it concerns about the upcoming election results in Tunisia but is glad to observe that the elections proceeded peacefully.