Almost 2,600 female candidates are running in Iraq’s May 12 elections.
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Iraqi women running for Parliament this month are undaunted, despite many challenges they face ahead of the May 12 elections, including unprecedented smear campaigns complete with sex videos that have forced some to withdraw.Nearly 2,600 female candidates are vying for a quarter – a quota allotted to women under the constitution – of Parliament's 329 seats in these elections, the fourth since Saddam's 2003 ouster.Fatin Rasheed Hameed, a candidate with the Baghdad Alliance party dominated by the country's minority Sunnis, says there would be fewer women in Parliament if it were not for the 25 percent quota.Sex videos have been widely circulated on social media purporting to show female candidates in bed with men, as well as photos allegedly showing candidates posing in underwear or revealing outfits.Baydaa Salim al-Najar, who was at the meeting, said the attacks "systemically target candidates without the hijab, to knock you down".She is one of 45 candidates from Iraq's minority Yazidis – an ethnic group particularly targeted by Daesh in horrific attacks.
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