Souad Abderrahim has been elected as the first woman mayor of the Tunisian capital, Tunis after defeating a city official who served under ousted despot Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.
She defeated Kamel Idir, candidate of the Nidaa Tounes party of President Beji Caid Essebsi, by 26 votes to 22.
In her victory speech, Abderrahim said, “I dedicate this victory to all Tunisian women. My first task will be to improve the face of Tunis.”
The 53-year-old manager of a pharmaceutical firm, known for her pant suits and blow-drys, has risen to the fore as one of the new faces of veteran Islamist party Ennahdha as it seeks to modernise its image.
Abderrahim, a member of the party’s politburo, stood as an independent in the May 6 municipal election, in which she headed the Ennahdha list.
She won election as mayor in a second round of voting by councillors which was boycotted by left-wing and centrist parties who refused to support the candidates of either of the main parties.