Chaldean Christian woman elected mayor of strategic town in Kurdistan Region
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A Chaldean-Christian woman was recently inaugurated as the mayor of Ibrahim Khalil, a strategic town in the Kurdistan Region’s Duhok province, making her the first female and Christian person to take the post.
Duhok’s provincial council recently changed the top leadership officeholders of the province’s districts and subdistricts. Mardin Hikmat, a Chaldean-Christian woman, was elected as Ibrahim Khalil’s mayor in Duhok’s Zakho district as part of the council’s move.
Ms. Hikmat, 32, is a civil engineering graduate with seven years of public sector experience. Before assuming the Ibrahim Khalil mayorship, Hikmat was the head of the Duhok Traffic Directorate's engineering department.
Ibrahim Khalil is a strategic town on the border with Turkey. Iraq-Turkey trade through the Ibrahim Khalil crossing is estimated at nearly $15 billion annually. About 75 of the trade is between Turkey and southern and central Iraq. The rest is between the Turkey and Kurdistan Region, per official figures.
The new mayor is not the only one from a minority group appointed to a leadership role. The head of Zakho Electricity Directorate, for example, is Armenian. Moreover, Bersv town’s mayor is Christian.
“As the local government, we do not differentiate between these different [ethnic and religious] components,” Botan Mohsin, the mayor of Zakho district, told Kurdistan 24.
The Kurdistan Region is well-known in Iraq and the broader region for its rich, diverse culture. Chaldean and Assyrian Christians compose a significant portion of the Kurdish society. They also hold several top positions in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The minister of transportation and communications, for example, is a Christian minister in the ninth cabinet of KRG.
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Editing by Khrush Najari
Islam Yousif contributed to this report