Tunisia President Promises Equal Inheritance For Men, Women

Published August 14th, 2018 - 09:33 GMT
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. (AFP/ File)
Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi. (AFP/ File)
Tunisia's President Beji Caid Essebsi proposed on Monday equalizing inheritance rights between men and women.

In a speech marking Women's Day in Tunisia, he said he wants to submit the proposal "as soon as possible," probably when parliament resumes in October.

"I propose to make equal inheritance a law", he stated in a televised speech.

The president's decision is based on the recommendations of a 300-page government report known as the Colibe report.

The proposal to equalize inheritance is among the most hotly debated of a raft of proposed social reforms, guided by a commission the president set up a year ago.

The commission suggested inheritance should by default be shared equally among male and female heirs.

Similar to many Muslim-majority countries, Tunisian law currently stipulates that male heirs should receive double the assets given to females of the same level of kinship.

"We will overturn this situation" and make equality the rule, while unequal sharing of inheritance will require special dispensation, Essebsi said.

"It is my duty as president of all Tunisians to unite and not to divide," he said.

Essebsi said Monday his decision is based on Article 2 of the country's Constitution, which he said "stipulates that Tunisia is a state based on citizenship, the will of the people and the supremacy of law" rather than religion.

The proposed inheritance equality law would be incorporated into the country's 2014 constitution, which has been praised as a key milestone.

Tunisians making a last will and testament would still be able to divide their assets as they see fit, with the equality law being applied in cases where no such preferences have been stipulated.
This article has been adapted from its original source. 

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