Tunisian women have no hope for upcoming elections

Tunisian women have no hope for upcoming parliamentary elections due to Tunisian new electoral law.


Tunisia- 1,058 candidates, including 127 women candidates, will run for the parliamentary elections to be held in Tunisia on December 17, 2022. Compared to the elections in 2019, the number of candidates is very low this year due to the country’s new electoral law because many political parties have boycotted the elections. Under the new electoral law, potential candidates need to submit 400 signatures of registered voters from their constituencies to run for office. Candidates also cannot finance their campaigns through public funding and must rely instead on their own means or private funding.

These requirements disempower women who are less likely to have the same powerful local networks to sponsor their candidacy as men and the same financial means as their male counterparts. The new electoral law also reduced the total number of parliamentary seats from 217 to 161.

‘It doesn't represent us’

NuJINHA spoke to Tunisian women about the new electoral law and upcoming elections. Tunisia women criticize political parties for not keeping their promises. Nourhan Al-Qudsi, an agricultural engineer, told us she would boycott the upcoming elections, stressing that the presence of women as voters and candidates is important. “The Tunisia's House of Representatives does not represent us, women. Voting is the right of all citizens; however, the current political policies cause social disappointments, particularly among women. I will boycott the upcoming elections because there are not enough women candidates.”

‘Women must be supported’

Najiba Al-Tunisi, a retired teacher, called on Tunisian women to vote for those who will represent them with honesty and integrity. “The votes of women are important. Despite all the problems and conditions suffered by Tunisia, voting is a constitutional right and duty for us. Women candidates must be supported. We must uphold women’s rights and achievements. Women are most affected by crises. We must support each other to empower each other.”

‘Promises were not kept’

Afnan Al-Hajji stated that many people will boycott the elections since promises made during the previous elections were not kept. She called on women candidates to give more spaces for women’s issues in their election campaigns. “We do not expect that the upcoming elections will change the status of women,” she added.