04/07/2018 9:22 PM IST

The Capital Of Tunisia Elects Its First Woman Mayor

“I dedicate this victory to all Tunisian women,” Souad Abderrahim said after her landmark victory.

Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters
Souad Abderrahim celebrates after being elected as mayor of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, on Tuesday.

Souad Abderrahim just made history.

The 53-year-old pharmaceutical company manager was elected as the first woman mayor of Tunis, the capital of Tunisia, on Tuesday. Abderrahim defeated Kamel Idir, a candidate of the Nidaa Tounes party founded by Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi.

“I dedicate this victory to all Tunisian women,” Abderrahim said after her win, according to Agence France-Presse. “My first task will be to improve the face of Tunis.”

Abderrahim was elected by Tunis’ municipal council, garnering 26 votes while her closest opponent received 22 votes. She ran as an independent but was backed by the Islamist Ennahda party, a moderate Muslim party that advocates for separating religion and politics.  

“We have chosen transparency as a slogan,” Abderrahim said.

Abderrahim was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Tunisia in 2011 after the Arab Spring movement. She served on the Assembly until 2014 after which she served on the Ennahda party’s policy-making committee.

People on Twitter congratulated Abderrahim and celebrated the historic moment. 

“First women in history to be ELECTED mayor of an Arab Capital, and that changes everything, especially the power of such a success,” activist Amira Yahyaoui tweeted

Twitter user Mohamed Ali Azaiez also congratulated Abderrahim, writing: “A historic day for Tunisia ― the first Arab country to enshrine women’s rights into law ― especially for Tunisian women. A new era for our democracy and huge challenges to serve our nation. Congratulations to Souad Abderrahim and to all Tunisians!”