A Second Female Presidential Candidate in Yemen

A second woman has decided to run for president of Yemen. On March 15, Rashida al-Qaili joined Sumaya Ali Raja, who had announced her candidacy in December, as the first two women candidates ever to seek the position. Rashida Al-Qaili, a satirical columnist, will run as an independent candidate. She said she would rely on her “community of intellectuals” to support her bid for office, rather than the more traditional family tribe or political party, reports IRIN.

Both women will face opposition from the country’s conservative and Islamist movements, as “There are a lot of constraints facing women’s political participation,” political science professor Dr. Bilqis Abu-Osba’a told IRIN. “This includesÉ traditional tribal society, as well as a lack of earnest support from political parties, which don’t push a good number of women into leading positions.”

Currently there are only two women in the Yemeni cabinet and one woman in the 301-seat parliament. Women’s organizations have urged the government to reserve 30 percent of the seats in the upcoming election for women. Elections will be held in September.


Feminist Daily News 1/6/06; IRIN (Integrated Regional Information Networks) 3/15/06, 3/8/06

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