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Leading Female Politician, Activist Eyes Afghan Presidency

February 20, 2012

by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan

A prominent female lawmaker has repeated her intention to run for Afghanistan's presidency when current President Hamid Karzai's term runs out in two years' time, suggesting she sees signs that gender bias is easing among some Afghans.

In an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan, parliamentarian Fawzia Koofi said she believes certain intellectual groups in deeply religously conservative Afghanistan are increasingly ready to accept a woman as president.

Afghan women launched unsuccessful bids for president in that country's 2004 and 2009 elections, which were won by President Hamid Karzai, the only leader the country has had since the UN-backed Bonn agreement in late 2001 ushered him into power.

Karzai is constitutionally barred from seeking another term in the next vote, due in 2014.

The 36-year-old Koofi currently chairs the Afghan parliament's women's affairs commission.

Koofi began her political career after the fall of the Taliban in late 2001, promoting women's rights to education in a "Back To School" campaign.

She was elected to the Afghan National Assembly in 2005, when she also became a deputy speaker.

She recently came out with her autobiography in English, titled "The Favored Daughter: One Woman's Fight To Lead Afghanistan Into The Future."

She previously expressed her intention to run for the presidency in early January.

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/female_politician_considers_run_afghan_presidency/24490033.html

Copyright (c) 2012. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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