Egypt’s Faceless Candidates

Author of Sketch, Mounaqaba with a flower

The first free elections in the history of Egypt are taking place, and among the candidates are thirty women who wear the niqab – the religious veil that conceals the entire body including the face. Niqabi women campaigning for office can seem a paradoxically feminist decision, despite the fact that some in Egypt have accused them of being puppets.

Fatma is a munaqaba, running as an independent candidate for a parliamentary seat from Cairo. Running for public office "is twice a challenge," she says. "On one side, the liberals actively fight my presence and, on the other side, the salafis want me to go back home because they think that a woman

A Nation of Policy Geeks?

Demonstrators in front of the Tunisian Assembly. Photo CC.

Elected bodies were stagnant places under deposed dictator Ben Ali, but post-revolution elections have breathed life into Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly. The assembly’s televised debates have awoken the political wonk in many Tunisians.

Recently, while I was out getting some exercise with a friend of mine, I was startled when he suddenly decided to abandon me for the sole purpose of going home to watch the Constitutuent Assembly debates on television.

Tunisia’s Constituent Assembly Gets a Fresh Face

Mehrezia Labidi-Maiza

The Vice President of the first democratically elected Arab Assembly is a woman, an Islamist, a liberal and … a French citizen.

On the Tunisian political scene, Mehrezia Labidi-Maiza was virtually unknown before her sensational debut on Monday November 22, the day she entered the political arena.

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