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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Wednesday, September 26, 2018


First woman stands for Tajikistan President backed by Islamic party

Tajiks are able to vote for a woman since independence from the Soviet Union

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Tajik lawyer and rights activist, Oinikhol Bobonazarova. ©AFP news

DUSHANBE, Tajikistan:  A woman is for the first time bidding for the presidency in Tajikistan after an opposition bloc including an Islamic party chose a respected female rights lawyer as its candidate in the majority Muslim country, AFP reports.

A 65-year-old lawyer and rights activist who does not wear a headscarf, Oinikhol Bobonazarova, has been nominated to stand in the November 6 polls against President Emomali Rakhmon by the opposition Islamic Renaissance Party (IRP).

It will be the first time that Tajiks are able to vote for a woman in a presidential race since the impoverished country's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.

Even more unusually, Bobonazarova will represent a moderate Islamic party in a country where 99 percent are Sunni Muslims.

The opposition Social Democratic party, which has no parliamentary seats, is also expected to endorse Bobonazarova as its candidate on October 6.

By Tajik law, she now has to collect 210,000 signatures from supporters to be able to stand.

"This is a unique case when a woman is standing as a candidate," the veteran activist told AFP in an interview.

"I feel great. The thing is, this isn't my first day in politics, but I have been doing it for the last 40 years. People support and welcome me and my choice. They wish me success and give me inspiration," Bobonazarova said.

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