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An initiative for increasing the number of women on candidate list

This post is also available in: Македонски

Macedonian Women Lobby sent letters to the presidents of the political parties involved in the working groups on the Electoral Code and to the presidents of women’s sections in the 4 political parties in order to provide support to the initiative to increase the quota from 30% to 40% representation of women on all levels.

 

The Macedonian Women’s Lobby is historically strongly associated with lobbying for greater women’s participation in decision making structures on all levels.

At the end of the 90s the issue of introducing quotas was raised among the public in the Republic of Macedonia as a response to the small presence of women in decision making processes.

The issue for equal representation of both genders was further raised by CEDAW recommendations and the Beijing Platform for Action, as well as other documents and recommendations signed and ratified by the Republic of Macedonia.

In 2002 for the first time, a 30% gender quota was introduced in candidate lists for the election of MPs.

This intervention encouraged increased participation of women in electoral lists, but the number of elected members of Parliament was far below the set quota of 30%.

Taking into consideration the experience of the 2002 parliamentary elections, where the quota did not yield the expected results, a new legal solution for the participation of women in councilor electoral lists was adopted in 2004. This solution provided a fairer representation of women candidates both on the upper and the lower half of the electoral list for councilors, resulting in the election of 22.4% women councilors in the local elections of March 2005.

In 2006 the electoral legislation, more specifically the part regulating women’s participation in candidate lists, was improved with the adoption of the Electoral Code. A new provision was introduced according to which for every three places on MP electoral lists and councilor electoral lists in the municipalities and the City of Skopje at least one place shall be reserved for the less represented gender.

The Electoral Code does not envisage electoral quotas for women mayors. Since this issue is not legally regulated and taking into consideration the existing stereotypes of women in politics, there were no women mayors elected at the 2009 local elections and, in light of intense pressures, only four of them were elected at the 2013 local elections as opposed to 77 men mayors in a total of 81 municipality.

In the past, there have been examples of women elected as MPs and councilors withdrawing from these positions in the interest of male candidates found on lower positions of the electoral list. To prevent this situation, a protective mechanism was introduced with the 2014 Electoral Code, according to which, an elected woman who has withdrawn from the electoral list shall be followed by the next woman candidate.

This historical context that calls on us to repeat and reaffirm the values ​​we hold.

Women in Macedonia are aware that without the quota mechanism they would not have a 30% share in the councils and in Parliament. They are also aware that plenty of laws, measures and issues relating to gender equality would not had been put on the agenda of the decision making bodies if these had not included women.

Therefore, we call upon all participants in the development of the new Electoral Code to take into account Strategic aim 2 – Improvement of the level of gender equality in priority thematic areas of the National Plan for Gender Equality (2013-2016) and the envisaged indicator Increased quota of 40% of the less represented gender on candidate lists.

We would also like to call upon respective parties to remain in compliance with the established quota referring to the number of women in electoral bodies, such as the State Electoral Commission and other electoral bodies, as well as all executive bodies and appointed positions at national and local level.