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Tunisia's first openly gay aspiring presidential candidate

Tunisia

<p>Mounir Baatour is the first openly gay man aspiring to contest the presidential election in Tunisia.</p> <p>On Thursday, the lawyer submitted his candidacy, a first in the Arab world. </p> <p>“I do not think my sexual orientation has anything to do with my candidacy. I am first and foremost a Tunisian citizen. I have the right to introduce myself to the Tunisian people to ask for their vote to be elected”, he said.</p> <p>He is hoping to ensure that the <span class="caps">LGBTQ</span> community have their rights in society.</p> <p>“Among the things that I will surely do is to guarantee the rights of the <span class="caps">LGBT</span> community that is being persecuted in Tunisia, and especially the abolition of Article 230 of the Penal Code, which penalizes homosexuality,’‘ Baatour said.</p> <p>Baatour, served three months in prison for sodomy with a 17 year old student in 2013. He denied the accusation. Homosexuality is repressed in this North African nation.</p> <p>But nearly a dozen groups defending rights of gay and trans people in North Africa and the Mediterranean say the President of the Liberal Party represents ‘‘danger’‘ for the <span class="caps">LGBTQ</span> community.</p> <p>Tunisia’s Independent Electoral Authority will release a list of candidates validated for the September 15 election on August 31.</p> <p>More than 60 candidates have filed their nominations to contest.</p> <p><strong><span class="caps">AFP</span></strong></p>

I do not think my sexual orientation has anything to do with my candidacy.

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