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Iraqi Women Fear Losses On Provincial Councils

A female candidate from the National list, Zainab Sadiq Jaffer (left), campaigns in Al-Basrah.
BAGHDAD -- Changes to Iraq's election law ahead of provincial elections on January 31 could reduce the number of women in the next parliament, where they currently hold some 30 percent of the seats.

Hamdiya al-Husseini, a female member of Iraq's Electoral Commission, told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq that the new quota -- awarding the third seat of any winning party to a woman -- is "inapplicable if the entity contesting the election is a single individual."

Some parties consist of only one or two local leaders, and they are often not women.

There would therefore be no third-seat winners in some provinces, making for fewer female provincial legislators.