by Kim Gamel
BAGHDAD – The 38-year-old teacher wanted to participate in Iraq’s first provincial elections in four years – until she realised that a new law would require the ballot to list her name, not just her party.
Even as violence has declined, lingering fear bred by rampant crime and a small but die-hard insurgency has left many Iraqi women afraid to run in the elections, to be held by January 31.
“I feel that I am unprotected,” said the teacher, speaking by telephone on condition of anonymity because of her fears. “I am not going to run in the elections because I fear for the safety of members of my family who might be targeted.” The teacher, a Sunni who considers herself a political independent, hails from Baqouba, a former stronghold of Al Qaeda in Iraq some 35 miles northeast of Baghdad.