Tunis (TN), 19th September 2011
The Assembly of European Regions (AER) reaffirms its support for the decentralisation process and provides its expertise in the democratization process in Tunisia. A training seminar for Tunisian female candidates to the Constituent Assembly and the opening of a permanent representation to allow for a sustained presence close to the transitional authorities have marked two historic steps in its partnership with the country.
Striving for gender parity: a right and a duty
Michèle Sabban, AER President, has associated herself with the Tunisian Minister of Women Affairs to tackle the important challenge the country has set itself of applying the principle of gender parity at the upcoming elections for a Constituent Assembly on 23rd October. “The forward march of women is an incredible hope for the future. I wish to personally engage myself with them to help them to write this decisive page of Tunisia’s history” declared Michèle Sabban. “Women contribute with determination, courage and enthusiasm, beyond the difficulties they may encounter. The democratic representation cannot dispense of 50 % of its nation!”, she added.
At the two-day seminar, attended by around 40 female candidates representing more than 25 political parties, female representatives from AER member regions, and renowned Tunisian militants shared their personal experiences and views on the obstacles that women may encounter when trying to develop a credible candidacy and win over an electorate, and discussed how these could be overcome.
“The primary objective of this meeting was to prepare Tunisian women to tackle the numerous challenges they will encounter during their campaigns, but also, and perhaps even more so, once they will be elected. We have also discussed the contribution women can make to society and more specifically to politics, including how they can take an active part in civil society”, underlined Lilia Labidi, Tunisian Minister for Women Affairs.
AER reinforces its presence with the opening of a permanent representation
Created within the framework of a Memorandum of Understanding with the Tunisian Ministry of Regional Development, this AER representation, inaugurated today, is the first to be launched outside the European continent. “Our presence in Tunisia will allow us to support the country every step of the way as it implements a process of true decentralisation,” declared Michèle SABBAN. “This permanent representation will help organise exchanges and concrete partnership projects between the Tunisian regions and our members, such as better equipping young Tunisians to access the labour market by hosting them in European regions members of AER, ” she concluded.
“Guided by our desire to assist Tunisia in this historical transition it is undergoing, we have decided to partner up with AER and launch this permanent representation to facilitate the cooperation between European regions and the Tunisian governorates. It will be the link between the regions and help them develop decentralized cross-border cooperation projects to bring Tunisian regions to the European level,” added Sandro Fratini, Head of the AER permanent representation in Tunisia.
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