Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Tajik Islamists Support Woman

Tajikistan's Islamic Renaissance Party is supporting a woman in its upcoming presidential elections:
A secularist woman with a politically independent streak seems an odd choice for an Islamist party to support in Tajikistan's upcoming presidential race.
But for the Islamic Renaissance Party (IRPT), Oinihol Bobonazarova offers an opportunity for victory in what is widely seen as an unwinnable election on November 6.
Bobonazarova, a human rights lawyer and activist, was tapped early this month to represent the United Reformist Forces, a merger that brings together the IRPT, the Social Democratic Party, and several nongovernmental groups and influential political players in the opposition.
The IRPT later confirmed its backing for Bobonazarova during a party congress, surprising observers who had watched the party groom its own potential candidates for years.
Bobonazarova is not really an IRPT nominee, but rather the candidate of a united opposition front of which it is a member.  She also has no chance of winning, and "victory" in the above excerpt means primarily a victory in messaging as Tajikistan's main Islamist group burnishes its moderate and democratic credentials.  Still, that burnishing could be a tough sell given the opposition to this endorsement from many conservative rank-and-file members.

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