Women candidates trained on local elections [Archives:2006/966/Front Page]

July 24 2006

SANA'A, July 23 ) In the opening session of the second Training Workshop for Women Candidates held Sunday, Amel Al-Basha, head of the Arab Sisters Forum (ASF), criticized discrimination against women by some of the Supreme Commission for Election and Referendum (SCER) main committees.

Al-Basha confirmed that the SCER previously had one woman on its main committee, but now there are none. “We demanded that women receive some chairs on the main committee, but we see that no woman has a place there,” she remarked.

Meanwhile, Al-Basha expressed surprise at Islah party's failure to send women candidates to join the training workshop, noting that Islah sent six women candidates to the first training workshop to be trained in upcoming local council elections.

“That was a surprise and proved that Islah is moving forward to involve women in elections. But it also was a surprise that they didn't send any women candidates to join this workshop. We don't know the reason for this,” she commented.

In this regard, Al-Basha wished that Islah would set an example and have better insight, especially as Islam doesn't forbid women's participation in nominating themselves in elections.

Moreover, Al-Basha referred to women's empowerment, asserting that parties ignore women's issues whenever they meet. She concluded that women candidates face challenges in competing with men in the upcoming elections.

The workshop aims to train women candidates on the local elections scheduled to be held in September 2006. it also aims to enable them plan and run election campaigns, build alliances among them, raise awareness on the election law among them and help them understand the role of local councils.

For his part, SCER information officer Abdu Al-Janadi stressed the importance of involving women in elections, adding that every political party needs women. “No party can achieve a majority without women's participation,” he noted.

Al-Janadi added that more than three million women are registered on voting registries, which can change the election's course. “In our society, men are used to dominating over women. If women comprehended their full rights, then they could have succeeded in elections,” he pointed out.

Shumaisa Riaha, an expert from Morocco, encouraged women candidates to run in the upcoming elections. She stressed the importance of developing candidates' capacities and helping them feel confident, explaining that candidates should be armed with self-confidence and abilities to convince.

Forty-three women candidates are participating in the second workshop for women candidates in Sana'a, representing most of the political parties – both opposition and official. The workshop will run for four days. The first workshop, held this past January, included 33 women candidates.

There were 84 women candidates in the February 2001elections and 38 won: 29 belonged to the General People's Congress, six to the Yemeni Socialist Party and three were independent.