President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia, on Monday proposed giving women equal inheritance rights despite protests from thousands of people objecting to any challenge to the Islamic law.
The North African Muslim country, which toppled autocrat Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, grants women more rights than other countries in the region, and since last year has allowed Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men. But in a show of how divided the society remains, thousands demonstrated on Saturday in front of parliament against any changes to inheritance rules.
The current system is based on Islamic law which allows men to inherit double what women would receive.
“I propose equality inheritance to become law,” President Beji Caid Essebsi said in a speech.
But in the face of the opposition from conservatives, he left the door open for some exceptions, saying families who wished to continue the allocation based on Islamic law would be able to do so. Thousands of women and men rallied in central Tunis in the evening to demand a law granting women equal heritage rights.