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9-05-2011 - Habib Toumi, Gulf News (مصدر)

Qatari woman confident of winning municipal polls dominated by men

Fatima Al Gazal, one of four women running in Qatar's municipal elections next week, said it would be better to create awareness in the society for recognising Qatari women's abilities and providing them a level playing field for winning membership in the Council through free and fair elections.


Fatima Al Gazal, one of four women running in Qatar's municipal elections next week, said that women could win seats if they are provided with a "level playing field".

"There is no doubt that quota will help more women to become members of the Central Municipal Council," she said.


Fatima, the only woman candidate in the Abu Hamour constituency competing with seven men, all from the same tribe, said that most Qatari voters vote for candidates based on their tribe and gender.


She said that she was optimistic about winning the election "because I am contesting on a realistic election agenda which I think I will be able to implement".


"I have not promised anything that I feel I will not be able to fulfil. I think my electoral manifesto will be appreciated by my constituents." She said she would not underestimated the influence of tribal links. "We are a country dominated by various tribes and getting their support is necessary to win an election. Since I belong to a tribe that does not have a large population in Abu Hamour, I understand that it is a big challenge to enter the Central Municipal Council."



She said people ask her why she is not running in a constituency where her tribe is a majority, "but I tell them that my voters will rise above narrow considerations and support me. I think it is always better to contest from the constituency where you reside," she said.


A former school principal and a columnist, Fatima said she decided to run to prove that men and women were equally capable of serving the country.


She said she hopes more powers will be given to the Municipal Council members in the near future.


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