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Time to introduce gender quotas for electoral lists, says Equality Commission

NCPE urges political parties to alternate men and women on ballot sheets

Photo: Shutterstock

Photo: Shutterstock

The Equality Commission has urged political parties to ensure women make up at least 30 per cent of candidates on electoral lists.

In a statement issued this afternoon, the NCPE suggested alternating men and women on electoral lists, as a means of encouraging voters to pick more female candidates at the ballot. 

The system, which the NCPE said could be introduced over a number of years and gradually build up to each gender having 50 per cent of candidates on any given ballot sheet, would be applicable to local council, national Parliament and European Parliament elections.

“A permanent system that ensures gender-balance in political decision-making will spur national institutions, political parties and civil society to become leaders for change," the Commission said in a statement.

With women representing just 13 per cent of MPs, Malta ranks 108 in the Global Gender Gap Report when it comes to the relative number of women in parliament. When countries are compared according to their number of female Cabinet members, Malta ranks even lower, at 123. 

The NCPE suggested implementing its alternating electoral list system over a number of years, as follows:

* at least 30 per cent representation of each gender in party electoral lists for the next elections - at all three levels;

*at least 40 per cent representation of each gender in party electoral lists for the following elections - at all three levels; and

* at least 50 per cent representation of each gender in party electoral lists in all subsequent elections for each of the three levels.

Lists not in line with this rule should be rejected by the Electoral Commission, the NCPE said.

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