At an Arab women’s conference, Sumayah Ali Raja, chair of the Yemen-French Forum, announced she will run in Yemen’s 2006 presidential election. Raja will be the first woman to run for the Yemeni presidency. According to Inter Press Service News Agency, Raja said in her announcement that her candidacy “will increase the participation of women in different fields. My nomination will also improve women’s political role in the country.” She urged political parties, civil organizations and particularly women’s groups to support her candidacy. Current president Ali Abdullah Saleh will not run for another term, and so far, Raja will be running against three male candidates.
Also at the conference, Yemeni prime minister Abdul-Qader Ba-Jammal encouraged political parties to reserve 15 percent of their parliamentary seats for women, pledging that his ruling party, the General People’s Congress, would do so in the coming elections, reports the Yemen Times.