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Iraqi Women's Groups Back Female Candidate For Speaker

Iraq's parliament in session

Iraq's parliament in session

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi women's rights groups are uniting to support a candidate to become the first female parliament speaker, RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq (RFI) reports.

Parliament deputy Maysun al-Damaluji is the only women among several candidates vying for the post. Al-Damaluji, an architect, served as deputy culture minister in 2004.

Women's rights activist Nisrin Naji told RFI that electing al-Damaluji would send a message to the world about the prominent status of women in Iraq. Besides, she added, the Iraqi parliament needs a woman to "keep it in order."

Another activist, Hana Edward, told RFI that her organization has joined other women's groups in petitioning parliament officials to help elect al-Damaluji as speaker.

Candidates must win 138 of the 275 parliamentary votes to be elected.