Exclusive: Leading Iraqi Female Politician Says ‘New Leadership’ Is Key to Solving Country’s Problems

Iraqi lawmaker, Hanan al-Fatlawi, speaks to journalists during a press conference, in Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday, April 19, 2016. Iraqi lawmakers on Tuesday failed to vote on the fate of the parliament speaker, prolonging the country's simmering political crisis amid the fight to dislodge Islamic State extremists from vast areas in …
AP Photo/Karim Kadim

WASHINGTON, DC – Dr. Hanan al-Fatlawi, a leading candidate in Saturday’s parliamentary elections in Iraq, says she will help usher in the leadership Iraq “needs” and “deserves” if her political party gains enough influence in Iraq’s Parliament.

“Since the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, Iraq has not had the leadership it needs or deserves,” al-Fatlawi, a Shi’a Muslim who established the Eraada (Determination) Movement in Iraq in 2015, told Breitbart News. Her party is the first political party to be led by a woman in Iraq, and she has clearly indicated to Breitbart News her opposition to sectarianism.

The struggle for powerful women like her is an uphill battle, one she hopes to steer onto a path towards positive change through her leadership. “Only new leadership, new parties, can rebuild trust between people and the politicians again,” al-Fatlawi told Breitbart News. “New leadership will bring new thinking,” she said.

The New Arab noted that “nearly a third of the 7,000 candidates in Iraq’s elections are women – but many have had campaign posters torn down and faced threats and abuse.”

She noted the rampant corruption and abuses that exist in Iraq’s Parliament.

Saturday’s election is the first national election since the fall of the Islamic State (ISIL/ISIS) last year. Al-Fatlawi has more than 200 candidates competing in 7 of Iraq’s 18 provinces.

A medical doctor by trade, al-Fatlawi’s specialization is in dermatology and venereology.

In 2005, she was elected to be a member of the Transitional National Assembly, the group that wrote Iraq’s Constitution.

Al-Fatlawi told Breitbart News she received more votes than any other female member of Parliament in the 2014 elections. “I was one of the final two candidates for the presidency.” However, she withdrew herself from the presidential race because the Constitution ruled that Iraq’s president must be Kurdish. Al-Fatlawi is an Arab Shi’a Muslim:

Her following is diverse, although a vast majority of her popularity rests with the millennial population, including university students and intellectuals.

She has more than 2.3 million followers on her Facebook page:

Fatlawai told Breitbart News that should she succeed in Saturday’s elections, she will focus on national security and safety of the region, bringing reform to the current Iraqi government and developing healthy diplomatic and international relations. She also said she believes that “the threat of terrorism, primarily Daesh, is not only an Iraqi problem. It is a problem for the world” with which the international community should deal. She added that she believes any court of law should bring justice to the victims of this terrorist group.

Along that same line of reasoning, al-Fatlawi said she believes all religious minorities, women, and Yazidis in Iraq should be protected and treated with the same respect and dignity as any other citizen.

According to Rudaw, “Karim Tamimi, the spokesperson for the Iraqi electoral commission, announced at [a] press conference that the early voter turnout was 78 percent in Iraq and 61-87 percent in the Kurdistan Region.”

It remains to be seen how Dr. Fatlawi will fare in Saturday’s election.

Adelle Nazarian is a politics and national security reporter for Breitbart News. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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