According to Human Rights Watch, a new law enacted by Tunisian President Kais Saied's government in September "eliminated the principle of gendered parity" in elected assemblies.
Critics argue that new electoral reforms, such as eliminating public campaign financing, will make it more difficult for women to run for office. The law, which went into effect on September 15, requires candidates to collect 400 signatures from registered voters in their constituencies.
The new Tunisian electoral law 'eradicates' gender parity.
HRW Tunisia director Salsabil Chellali said, "Even though Tunisia's new constitution explicitly upholds this principle, the new law removes gender parity provisions from previous electoral law. It aimed to ensure equal representation of men and women in Tunisia's elected assemblies."
"One of the major accomplishments for women's rights following Tunisia's 2011 revolution was ensuring gender parity in elected assemblies," she added.
Furthermore, the law prohibits election candidates from having their political campaigns funded publicly, which critics say favors men and those from wealthier backgrounds.
"These requirements disproportionately disempower women, who are likely to have the same powerful local networks to support their candidacy as men and the same financial means." This, combined with other factors, is likely to contribute to their political exclusion," Chellali observed.
Tunisia's parliamentary elections are scheduled for December 17.
The opposition to Saeid
Last month, thousands of Tunisians demonstrated in the capital, Tunis, condemning Saied's efforts to consolidate political power.
They also demand accountability for the country's long-running economic crisis.
Saied moved to rule by decree after closing down parliament last year and expanding his powers with a new constitution approved in a July referendum.
Critics say his actions have weakened the democracy established by the 2011 revolution that deposed longtime leader Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and triggered the Arab Spring.
A deteriorating economic situation, exacerbated by supply shortages in the aftermath of Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February, has agitated many in the 12 million-strong North African country. As a result, cash-strapped Tunisia is negotiating a $2 billion bailout loan with the International Monetary Fund.