- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 9, 2003

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania (UPI) — Declaring that women should not be “hostages to men,” one recently declared her candidacy for the presidency of Mauritania — a first.

The upcoming presidential elections are set for Nov. 7.

Aisha bint Jadana, 43, told reporters at a June 25 news conference she wants to take advantage of the rights guaranteed to women by the constitution and to break the tradition of making women “hostages of men.”

Her electoral platform calls for legislation to guarantee women rights, curb early marriages of minor girls and ban what she called “humiliating” social traditions still praticed in remote provinces such as forcing girls to gain weight to appeal to men.

Mrs. Bint Jadana, a former activist of the ruling Democratic and Social Republican Party, said she would not bow to social and tribal pressures she expects to face.

“Men proved to have failed in many aspects, and a country like Mauritania needs the touch of a woman to heal its wounds and lead it to security,” she declared.

She is the third person to announce her candidacy. Moulay al-Hassan Ould al-Jeed, secretary-general of the Renewal and Concord Party, and current President Maaouyah Ould Sid Ahmed Taya are running.

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