Alqosh (Agenzia Fides) - Chaldian Catholic Lara Yussif Zara is the new mayor of Alqosh, the small town of Nineveh Plain, inhabited mostly by Christians, which for three years was the residential area near the border line with territories occupied by jihadists of the Islamic State. The Municipal Council of Qaraqosh, which met on Thursday 27 July, voted unanimously for her election, preferring her to a rival candidate. Born in 1982, and graduated in economics and management in 2006, Lara (who in the photo appears next to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako) is the first woman to be the mayor of Alqosh. She takes the place of another Chaldean Abdul Micha, the mayor who was dismissed with charges of corruption, ordered by Bashar al Kiki, at the head of the provincial Council of Ninive, a member of the Democratic Kurdistan Party.
The choice of Lara Zara as mayor of Alqosh could defuse the tensions and discontent circulated in recent weeks among local Christian communities. As reported by Fides (see Fides 19, 20 and 21/7/2017), several observers had interpreted the removal of Mayor Abdul as a confirmation of the plans nurtured on the Nineveh Plain and across the Province by the government of the autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan, that has called for a referendum on independence on September 25, with the intent of proclaiming the unilateral secession from Iraq. Iraqi Christian politicians, such as parliamentarian Yonadam Kanna, Secretary General of the Assyrian Democratic Movement, in recent interviews denounced pressures and political actions by regional forces on local minorities - including Christians - to also push populations of the Nineveh Plain to support the future Independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. (GV) (Agenzia Fides, 28/7/2017)