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Gender Quotas in Majoritarian Electoral System?

By Vladimer Napetvaridze
Wednesday, March 21
On March 19, the Georgian Parliament discussed the initiative of electoral quotas, - the legislative proposal, which was elaborated by the Task Force on Women’s Political Participation, a coalition of local and international organizations that advocate for gender equality and women’s political participation. The draft of amendment was submitted to the Parliament with 37 000 signatures at 28th of June of 2017 and it includes initiatives about implementing so called “zipper” system, where male and female candidates will appear alternately on party lists of candidates for the parliamentary and municipal elections. Another point of mentioned draft concerns the issue of replacement of MP. In case if mandate is terminated earlier than the end of term, the next candidate of the same sex will take a seat in replacement.

However, some changes in this initiative will be made. After discussion with the Prime-minister Kvirikashvili, authors of the amendments agreed to adjust the bill so that every third candidate on the party list (proportional system) would be a representative of different sex. As for the majoritarian electoral system, every sixth candidate presented by the party should be of different gender. This means that the political party will have to represent a different sex representative in at least 12 majoritarian districts from 73.

If the bill is approved, it will force political parties to complete their list of candidates equally with female and male candidates. This will result into at least 25 female MPs in 2020, elected in proportional system of parliamentary elections, as for majoritarian system of parliamentary election Parties will represent minimum 12 different candidates in 73 majoritarian districts.

According to Inter-Parliamentary Union’s world classification which is based on information provided by National Parliaments by October 1, 2017, among 193 countries in Georgia with only 16% of female MP takes 128th place, although Georgian legislation considers financial incentives for political parties,which includes female candidate in their list of candidates. As statistic shows, this regulation did not give considerable results.

Georgia is not only example of country, trying to solve problem of gender inequality using quotas of parliamentary mandates. Many countries used this method, while many states rejected it because of controversial attitudes within the country. Bellow will be provided table with various examples of using quotas of E.U. countries and dynamic of female MPs quantity in each of these countries.

Quotas are widely used within public and political representation in EU Member States. They take a variety of forms, including voluntary and legislated quotas for candidates for election to national parliaments. Most EU Member States have voluntary party quotas, but some of EU Member States have legislated compulsory quotas for candidates for election to national parliaments:

Belgium- 41% of women MPs in the Parliament. Legislated candidate quotas (Electoral Law). On electoral lists, the number of candidates of either gender cannot be greater than the other. Top two candidates cannot be of the same gender. Non-compliance leads to refusal of list by electoral authorities

France- 35% of woman MPs in the Parliament. Legislated quotas (Constitution and Electoral Law) and Voluntary Party quotas. Political parties instructed to contribute to equal access of men and women to elective positions. Non-compliance for national assembly lists leads to financial penalties. Non-compliance for Senate lists leads to invalidation of list

Greece- 18% of women MPs in the Parliament. Legislated candidate quotas (Electoral Law) and Voluntary Party Quotas. At least 1/3 women on lists 40% women on party list (PASOK).

Poland-25% of female MPs in the Parliament.Legislated candidate quotas (quota adopted in January 2011). Voluntary political party quotas 35% of women on lists 30% women on lists. The list will not be registered.

Portugal -35%of female MPs in the Parliament. Legislated quotas (Electoral Law) Min. 33% of each sex.

Slovenia- 28 % of female MPs in the Parliament. Legislated quotas (Electoral Law) and voluntary political party quotas Min. 35% of each gender (in transitional period 25%) Soft quota of 40% at SD party;

Spain -39% of female MPs in the Parliament.Legislated quotas (Electoral Law) and voluntary political party quotas Min. of 40% and max. 60% of either sex. Applied to every five posts Parties adopt 40% quota for either sex;

Despite the compulsory gender quota, there are no gender balances in the parliaments of mentioned countries. Political parties put the number of female candidates on the list, but the law doesn't define either these candidates should be placed in the front or at the end of the list. As a result, female candidates are placed mostly in the bottom part of the list of candidates.

The issue of gender quotation is widely discussed in society. Supporters of the idea, claim that this will increase women's involvement in the political process, which leads reduction of violence, corruption and so on. Opponents the idea say that artificially increasing the number of women MPs will result in the low qualification of candidates in parliament.

There is no deficit of low qualified male MPs in the Parliament of Georgia. As regards to the argument that gender quotas will increase women's involvement in politics, this is a right and acceptable opinion. A women's engagement will contribute to the development of civil society in the country.

As for the opinion that women's involvement will make politics more humane and liberal, violates the principle of gender equality and underscores the advantages of woman politician over the male politician. If women's involvement in politics, can cause the reduction of the violence and corruption in the country, it turns out that the male politicians are the main problem of the state. Therefore, it would be fair to prohibit the participation of men in politics. But of course, the mentioned theory is wrong, otherwise, Rwanda (with 63.8% of Woman MPs) is supposed to be one of the most developed countries in the world.