Tunisia cabinet presses ahead with equal inheritance law
Tunis, November 22, 2018 (AltAfrica)-A draft bill giving women equal inheritance rights to men is set to be submitted on Friday to the Tunisian cabinet in a step towards a vote in parliament, the presidency said.
Announced last month by President Beji Caid Essebsi, the proposal – unprecedented in the Arab world – sparked heated debate in the North African country and beyond for departing from a principle inspired by the Koran.
The presidential initiative must first gain approval from cabinet ministers before heading to parliament, where it will be debated both in committee and plenary sessions.
“The president will declare this bill a priority,” presidential spokesperson Saida Garrach said, adding it was expected to reach parliament “in the coming months”.
Tunisia’s current inheritance system, inspired by Islamic law, stipulates that men receive double the assets given to women of the same kinship level.
Under the proposed bill, Tunisians wishing to divide their assets as they see fit would still be able to do so before a notary.
The draft bill is among the most hotly debated of a raft of proposed social reforms, guided by a commission the president set up a year ago.
It is expected to draw fiery debate ahead of legislative and presidential elections set for late 2019, the presidency said.
The Islamist Ennahdha party, the largest in parliament, has been highly critical of the proposed bill.