<\body> Stories in America: First Woman Candidate in Kuwait

Thursday, March 23, 2006

First Woman Candidate in Kuwait

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The first woman to ever run in a Kuwaiti election began her campaign by bringing men and women together on Tuesday for the first time since the country's first election in 1962. It was also the first time the event was addressed by a woman:
"I promise I will not disappoint you if you elect me," said Jenana Bushehri, who is contesting the April 4 by-election for a council seat in the district of Salmiya, some 15 kilometres southeast of Kuwait City. The seat fell vacant after the council chairman was appointed minister in the new Kuwaiti cabinet in February.

Wearing the traditional Muslim headscarf, Bushehri, 33, called on the audience to fight sectarianism and tribalism and pledged to combat red tape and corruption, allegedly rampant in the civic body.

Bushehri, who is married with two daughters, holds a masters in chemical engineering and is working on her doctorate. She heads the food examination department at the municipality.

Women in Kuwait have long held senior positions in the oil and education sectors, as well as in the diplomatic corps, but were only granted full political rights in a historic vote in parliament in May 2005. The government subsequently appointed two women members in the municipal council and named the first woman minister.

The first national elections in which female Kuwaitis will be voting and running for office will be in 2007.


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