Tunisia: judge Kannou only woman running for president

Independent candidate with 'Yes we Kannou' slogan

21 November, 16:42

    (ANSAmed) - TUNIS, NOVEMBER 21 - The 27 candidates running for president in Tunisia's elections on Sunday include only one woman, Kalthoum Kannou.

    A Supreme Court judge aged 55, Kannou is a former president of the Association of Tunisian magistrates, a commissioner of the International Court of Justice, a civil society militant who calls herself an ''independent'' because she does not identify with any party. However, she defines herself as a member of the ''family of democrats'' supporting equality, human rights, a secular State and the separation of powers.

    She grew up in a family of unionists known for their opposition to French colonialism and became famous as a judge for speaking out against the regime. She even succeeded in issuing an arrest warrant against Moez Trabelsi, a member of Ben Ali's family, and was for this reason transferred twice to keep her away from the capital.

    Today, she says she could never work with parties that have members of the old regime among their ranks and is thus running as an independent candidate, while accepting the backing of parties that are willing to support her in the race. Priorities in her program include security, the economy, regional development, a reform of the judiciary and a new concept of international diplomacy.

    In an electoral speech held recently in the Kef region, she expressed confidence in her ability to manage the country and fill the highest position in institutions.

    Kannou says she would be the president of all Tunisians in a society still dominated by a patriarchic mentality.

    She rejects the current two-party system and calls for the support of the leader of Nidaa Tounes, Béji Cad Essebsi, as a provocation because, as the self-proclaimed heir to Habib Bourguiba, a staunch supporter of women in power, he should back her in her presidential race.

    Her campaign slogan ''Yes we Kannou'', from the one used by US President Barack Obama 'Yes we can', was re-launched across local media and social networks in an effective way, though the candidate has complained about little media attention around her race. Tunisian women who have given great importance to the last elections can identify in her.

    ''Tunisian women have all the knowledge necessary to fill the role of President of the Republic competently'', said Kannou, though her chance of winning the race is limited. (ANSAmed)
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