Socialists want next parliament to have an equal number of women and men

Socialists want next parliament to have an equal number of women and men

Tirana, 11 May 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Edison Kurani

The Socialist Party is aiming for the first time in Albania, to achieve an equal division of gender numbers in the electoral lists of candidates.

This incentive has been announced by the socialist MP, Olta Xhacka. She says that the increase of the representation of women in the electoral candidate lists is an indispensable change in circumstances when politics today remains one of the domains where gender inequality is very big.

Therefore, Xhacka has submitted to parliament a document which requires “several changes of the Electoral Code with the scope of applying a 50% rate in the gender division for the candidate lists prepared by political parties and coalitions for the general elections”.

In case this is achieved, then in the next elections there will be 70 male MPs and 70 female MPs in the 140 seat parliament.

This is not an easy effort and a topic which triggers debates. Many people believe that it is unacceptable to condition the numbers of gender representation, in circumstances when there may be a variable meritocracy. Thus, in an electoral process, there can be more worthy male candidates for MPs and in another, more females.

Mrs. Xhacka says that it is clear that this plan needs a debate, “but we are also aware of the fact  that the equal representation for each gender will have a quality effect not only in the participation and representation of women in politics, but also in the quality of democracy in our country”.

For Xhacka, “a political system cannot be considered democratic if half of the voters are not represented in an equal way”.

Gender quotes were introduced for the first time in the 2008 amendments of the Electoral Code. Political parties managed to avoid this legal obligation.

In spite of the Electoral Code’s requirement for the percentage of women in electoral candidate lists for every district to be 30%, political parties exploited the fact that candidate lists are closed  and women were put at the end of the list, where their chances to be elected were very slim.

In some cases, political parties ran more candidates than the number they could win in order to have 30% women on their lists, although these women had no mathematical chances to be elected.

In the 2013 elections, political parties openly avoided gender quotes imposed by the law and for this, in September 2013 they were fined with 200 thousand euros by the Central Election Commission.

In the 2009-2013 legislature, only 16% of MPs were women. In 2013, this percentage increased by another three women MPs. However, following the resignation of the majority of the government members form the post of MP this number went up to 29 women MPs or 21%. /