CAIRO: Several women’s organizations and movements coordinated with political coalitions to include a number of women in their party lists competing in the forthcoming parliamentary elections.
According to article no. 3 of the parliamentary elections law, the parliament will be comprised of 540 seats, out of which 420 will be elected individually, while the remaining 120 seats will be elected through electoral party lists. The new law creates quotas for women and different minorities.
According to the new law, the seats are to be divided and elected through electoral lists into four electoral districts; two of which are made up of 15 seats each while the other two electoral districts are made up of 45 seats each.
Any list running for the two districts of 15 seats each should include: at least three Coptic candidates, at least two farmers and/or laborers, at least two youth candidates, at least one disabled candidate and at least one expatriate. The list should also include at least seven female candidates with a possibility for the women’s quota to overlap with the other quotas.
Any list running for the two districts of 45 seats each should include: at least nine Coptic candidates, at least six farmers and/or laborers, at least six youth candidates, at least three disabled candidates and at least three expatriates. The list should also include at least 21 female candidates with a possibility for the women’s quota to overlap with the other quotas.
“The quota system mentioned in the law does not actually represent Egyptian women, as they earned this right to participate after what they did in the past revolution,” Nazra center for feminist studies said in an April 2011 statement.
Head of the Qualitative Union for Egyptian Women, Hoda Badran told Youm7 that despite the fact that the 80 percent of the seats will be elected individually which will reduce women’s participation, the new system, granting women at least 70 seats is better than the quota system during Mubarak’s Regime.
Badran said that the Union is collaborating with several women movements and NGOs such as New women Center and Nazra which decided to nominate 20 candidates including former deputy head of the Supreme Constitutional Court, Tahani Al-Gibali, and Niveen Ebeid, a member at New Women Center.
Secretary-General of the National Council for women, Mona Omar, asserted that the council sent a name list of 200 female candidates to a number of coalitions and political powers so that they are considered in the upcoming elections.
Omar said the council will hold training courses for the candidates on how to set up an electoral campaign.
Rights groups have protested July 4 against the limited number of women’s seats in Parliament and expressed their dissatisfaction with the parliament elections law which, according to them, limited the women political participation.
In a joint statement issued by Nazra for Feminine Studies and other NGOs Last May, they expressed their “deep concern” about the proposed amendments.
According to the law, candidate who acquires the absolute majority of correct votes in the individual seats system wins the seat. If there is no absolute majority, re-elections are held.
“We were surprised with the law that grants 80 percent of the parliament seats for individual candidates and only 20 percent for the list party candidates,” head of Nazra Mozn Hassan told The Cairo Post.
“This means that the 540 members in Parliament will only have 56 women, in other words, 7 percent of the whole Parliament,” she said.
“This percentage is better than the 2011 Parliament, but it’s not good enough.”
The 2012 constitution, drafted under the auspices of the Former President Mohamed Morsi’s administration, faced a similar debate.
Additionally reporting by Nada Selim