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The New Arab

Tunisia belly dancer running for president in September polls

Presidential hopefuls have until August 9 to register [Instagram]

Date of publication: 7 August, 2019

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The race to succeed late President Essebsi has heated up after a belly dancer has declared her intention to run for the top spot.
A Tunisian belly dancer, singer has announced she wants to run in snap September polls called after the death of 92-year-old leader Beji Caid Essebsi.

Nermine Sfar said in online statements on Tuesday that she is gathering signatures to formally submit her candidacy in the early presidential elections.

"Yes, I am running for president so that I can expose the criminals who hide behind fake posts and values," said Sfar, who has almost half a million social media followers.

The dancer vowed to lower the price of bread and ban the hijab and instead impose the traditional Tunisian headscarf known as the safseri if elected to the top spot.

She also pledged to fine men who fail to honour marriage promises and enact a law to give women two-thirds of inheritance, rather than the traditonal one-third.

"Tunisia will be better than Italy. It will become a country of art and freedom. People will no longer think about leaving the country," she was quoted as saying in local media.

Presidential hopefuls began registering their candidacies on Friday to the North African country's electoral commission.

The would-be candidates, include Prime Minister Youssef Chahed, former President Moncef Marzouki, Abdel Fattah Mourou, the vice president of Islamist party Ennahdha Party, and media magnate Nabil Karoui.

Last month, an openly gay man announced his bid for the presidency, calling for a more inclusive society in the country where homosexuality is still outlawed.

Presidential hopefuls have until 9 August to register, with the commission set to provide a final list of candidates on 31 August.

The campaigns are scheduled to run from 2 September to 13 September, with the preliminary results announced two days after the polls.

A date for the second round of presidential elections has not yet been decided, but the electoral commission said it would be held no later than 3 November.

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