Mayor Zara is next to Chaldean Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako
Chaldean 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 on the border with territories occupied by IS.
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 a graduate in economics and management, Lara is the first woman to be the mayor of Alqosh. She takes the place of another Chaldean, Abdul Micha, the mayor who was dismissed after charges of corruption, ordered by the provincial Council of Nineveh.
Local commentators have said they hope the choice of Lara Zara as mayor of Alqosh could defuse the tensions and discontent felt in recent weeks among local Christian communities. Recently there have been pressures on minority groups including Christians, to support the establishment of an independent Iraqi Kurdistan. Observers hope that Lara can help to bring the communities together.